Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Creativity of Love

Wedding Of Nina & Timothy

Readings: Genesis 1:26-28, 31; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8; John 15:9-12
Picture: cc Dennis Skley

Nina and Timothy, my dear friends, do any of you work in the so-called creative industries? Such as advertising and architecture. Or fashion and design. Or publishing and the performing arts. Do any of you hold jobs that require you to come up with exciting new ideas on a regular basis? At the drop of a hat even? To design computer games from scratch, for example. Or to compose a song. Or write a play. Imagine for a moment that you do.

How would you go about it? How to meet the constant demand for inspiration? It can’t be easy, right? It requires great creativity. The ability to habitually think outside the box. To make unexpected, even shocking, new connections. To help people see things differently. In new and interesting ways. Doesn’t this put a lot of pressure on you? Wouldn’t it stress you out? How do you keep churning out new ideas? From where do your creative juices flow?

Curious as it may sound, I think this is actually the question that you, Nina and Timothy, have decided to help us ponder today. We see this in the scripture readings that you have chosen. Especially in the first reading, taken from the book of Genesis. Which gives us an account of how God created the first man and the first woman. And not just the first man and the first woman. But also the first series of human relationships.

The relationship between the man and the woman. Who are created distinct and yet inseparable. Male and female he created them. The relationship between them and God. Who created them in the image of God. Created them to be creative as God is creative. For they are told to be fruitful. And to multiply. And then there is also the relationship between them and every other created thing. Fill the earth, they are told, and conquer it. Conquer it not for their own selfish purposes. But for the glory of God.

An account of the rich creativity of our God. This is what the first reading provides. But from where does this awesome creativity spring? The first reading doesn’t quite spell it out for us. At least not explicitly. But there are no prizes for guessing what the answer is. It should be no surprise, right? This is, after all, a wedding. And what is a wedding, without any mention of love? Yes, love is the ultimate source of creativity. Love is what prompts God to create. And it is in creative love that God keeps all of creation, all of us, in existence. It is in love that the first man and the first woman become fruitful.

Isn’t this the deeper reason for Jesus’ words in the gospel? As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you, remain in my love. Why? Because it is only in the Lord’s love that we can bear fruit that lasts. It is only in the Lord’s love that we can know true joy. And that our joy can ever hope to be complete. It is only in the Lord’s love that we can be truly and continually creative.

Isn’t this also what St. Paul is talking about in the second reading? What is it that makes the difference between an instrument playing sweet music and an empty gong booming, or a cymbal clashing? Nothing else, but love. Creative love that makes all things new. Self-sacrificing love that is always willing to find creative ways to be patient and kind. To delight in the truth. To excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Love is the true wellspring of creativity. God’s love. Made known to us in the self-sacrifice of Christ our Lord. Who laid down his life for us on the Cross. So that we might enjoy the fullness of life.

And it should perhaps be no surprise to us that you, Nina and Timothy, should choose to focus our attention on this particular aspect of love. Its creativity. For hasn’t this been your own experience too? In fact, isn’t this how you first got onto each other’s radar screen in the first place? Back on that memorable day, so many years ago, when as a new 10th Grade student at Chatsworth International School, Timothy stood up in class, and recited a poem he had composed himself?

This is how Nina describes the poem’s effect on her. I was so impressed and touched by it. It was in the style of a rap song and described his conflicting feelings of having moved to a different country, having to make new friends and starting over. Believe me, I was not the only one touched by his poem.

A courageous act of creativity. This is how it all began.

But that’s not all. Throughout the years after that, didn’t the two of you continue to have to exercise great creativity? Just to keep your friendship alive? And to allow it to thrive? Especially in that period after you had broken up. And one of you was plunged into the so-called Great Depression. Or when you found yourselves facing the prospect of having to live on separate continents. Somehow, you managed to find creative ways to stick together. Ending up in the same University in the UK. And even graduating together.

Yes, Nina and Timothy. The beautiful story of how you met and fell in love. Of how you have made it to this day. This very moment. When you are on the verge of professing your life-long and total commitment to each other. This story of yours is marked by the power of creativity. Creativity born of love. And love that is, first and foremost, a precious gift from God. It is our loving and creative God who has brought you together. Your creativity is a sure sign of this.

Which is why, as we join you, to celebrate your coming together as husband and wife, we cannot help but be filled with joy. And hope. For isn’t the creativity born of love an essential ingredient in any marriage? Don’t all married couples have to continually find new and creative ways to face and to overcome the many and varied challenges that life throws in their path? The powerful forces and enticing distractions that threaten to tear you apart from one another. Cause you to forget how much you mean to each other.

It is with the creativity born of love, that you will face and overcome these challenges in the days ahead. It is with the creativity born of love that we, your family and friends, your sisters and brothers in Christ, will support you in your commitment to each other. So that the passing of the years will find the bond of your love for each other growing ever stronger. Glowing every brighter. To the glory of God. And to the inspiration of all who will witness it. This is our prayer and our wish for you.

Nina and Timothy, my dear friends, even as we gather for this joyous celebration, how are we being invited to continue living in and from the powerfully creative love of God today?

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