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hope for churches in stress

Yellow Roses & Violets

This week Connie and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. It was a good time to reflect on the goodness of the Lord over these many years.

The flowers we chose, the traditional ones for this anniversary, were yellow roses and violets. By their bright color and soft fragrance, yellow roses represent the light and aroma, the attractive witness, of a long marriage. Violets, likely because they are hard to grow, point to the need for humility and commitment to sustain a marriage.

Over dinner at a riverside restaurant along the Susquehanna, we talked about people who have come alongside us over the years. We gratefully recognized parents, mentors, encouragers, intercessors, friends, and now children and grandchildren who contribute so much to our life together.

We have been showered with anniversary cards from family and friends, another reminder that marriage is shaped and strengthened in community.

As a serendipitous treat this week, a local theater company performed My Fair Lady. This classic musical of a cockney flower girl transformed into an elegant lady reminded us of sanctifying grace. Life together, at close range, inevitably exposes faults and flaws and defects. The Holy Spirit works amid the resulting tangles to remake us like Christ. Over these five decades, both of us been changed for the better.

Through this week, we served each other in the day-to-day tasks that undergird life together. We took part of one day to “hang out” at our local library, a favorite place to relax. In effect, we were quietly commemorating the mutual service and shared time that nourishes and deepens a marriage.

And though it's been showing for months, we chose this week to see Jesus at Sight and Sound theater in Lancaster (Pa.). Jesus is the bedrock of our lives. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life for Connie and me, individually and together. Jesus is the one who has lavished on us the grace of salvation and the manifold blessings of these fifty years.

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