I found it a bit humorous and at the same time somewhat heartwarming. Driving back from a hospital visit in Ashland Kentucky a few years back I was about to pass under a train overpass when I was greeted with an overwhelming display of affection. “Chad Loves Brittany” was boldly displayed with a bright red spray paint rendering of true love on the Eastbound side of the bridge. Who’s Chad and who’s Brittany? I don’t have the slightest clue, but he sure does love her. How do I know? Three foot tall letters on a railroad bridge that’s how! Embarrassing? Perhaps a bit to Brittany but I am sure deep down she loved the effort. Who cares what others say if you’re in love… right Chad? Ah, love is in the air, and on the side of the bridge as well!
A few years ago while in Kansas City with my son we found ourselves at the Harry S. Truman museum in Independence Missouri. There we were treated to a plethora of presidential artifacts complete with a life-sized version of the Truman Oval office. What struck me was that throughout the building were the letters, many of them to his wife. In fact A few years ago, the Truman Library made public 1,300 recently discovered letters that the late President wrote to his wife, Bess, over the course of a half-century. Mr. Truman had a lifelong rule of writing to his wife every day they were apart. He followed this rule whenever he was away on official business or whenever Bess left Washington to visit her beloved Independence. Scholars are examining the letters for any new light they may throw on political and diplomatic history. For our part, we were most impressed by the simple fact that every day he was away, the President of the United States took time out from his dealing with the world’s most powerful leaders to sit down and write a letter to his wife. Man that’s love, eh Chad?
As I reflected on the In-your-face-for-all-to-see expression of Amore’ God’s love for you and me came to mind. For God so loved the world, No greater love hath any man than this, I have loved you with an everlasting Love… all these verses swirled in my head as I thought of how God has loved us. One of my favorite descriptions of God’s love is found tucked away in the letter Paul wrote to the church at Rome. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” One of the things I like most about that verse is the word “commendeth”. It means to put on display, kind of like hanging a picture in a room for all to see. God, in the picture of Christ on the cross, hung it in the room of mankind for all to see. What an amazing Love this is! A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lit a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.
Dick Hills in “Love is a costly thing” talks about an incident experienced on the mission field, “She was lying on the ground. In her arms she held a tiny baby girl. As I put a cooked sweet potato into her outstretched hand, I wondered if she would live until morning. Her strength was almost gone, but her tired eyes acknowledged my gift. The sweet potato could help so little, but it was all I had. Taking a bite she chewed it carefully. Then, placing her mouth over her baby’s mouth, she forced the soft warm food into the tiny throat. Although the mother was starving, she used the entire potato to keep her baby alive. Exhausted from her effort, she dropped her head on the ground and closed her eyes. In a few minutes the baby was asleep. I later learned that during the night the mother’s heart stopped, but her little girl lived. Love is a costly thing. God in His love for us (and for a lost world) “spared not His own Son” to tell the world of His love.” Love is indeed in the air. The love of a young man for a young woman, the love of a creator for his creation. One heart sees the spray painted expression displayed on a railroad bridge and is touched in her heart with affection for a boy. We can all look back at the undeniable Love our creator displayed for us which was lifted high into the air for ages to behold… don’t miss what’s in the air!
Throckmorton is the pastor at Crossroads Church in Centerville.