let love be genuine (Monet, Picasso, Turner, Mondrian… and church)


Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12

ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING: I’ve never been much of a primary color guy; instead, I’ve always been a fan of subtle, muted tones. I’d like to think it means I’m more nuanced – but some might draw a different conclusion.

Regardless, I lean more Monet than Picasso, more J.M.W. Turner than Piet Mondrian (examples of their work in “gallery” below) – and that’s how I tend to pick my Valentine’s flowers.

IMG_7829Neither Rebekah nor I are huge fans of the syrupy, artificial flavoring of Valentine’s Day, but we also understand how good it is to be deliberate about acknowledging the fact that we love one-another. The secret of making it work then is to mark the day in a way that says, quite clearly, “I don’t care if February 14 can sometimes be contrived, hokey, and insincere. None of that changes the fact that I love you authentically, creatively, and from the deepest places in my being.”

That’s why this year’s roses worked so well. They are obviously my statement, my love, not a gift-store special.

SUNDAY MORNING: So this morning, getting ready for worship on a bitterly cold winter’s day, I’m wondering how I can use this same principle of honesty, creativity, and pulling from the deeper parts of who I am to express my love for God?

The point is this: If we’re not careful, church can become a throwaway cliché like Valentine’s Day. A lot of people respond to the trite, stereotyped facet of February 14 by either ignoring it altogether or mindlessly playing along – ritual without meaning. Many people do pretty much the exact same thing when it comes to church; they either walk away forever, or blindly go through the motions.

Neither one is a useful solution; and neither response is necessary.


Seriously, God is not even vaguely interested in simulations, in keeping up appearances, or in “playing the part.” God simply wants you, your unvarnished, honest to goodness, ever-loving self.

So let’s bring our earnest, plainspoken, authentic, sincere “Here I am, Lord,” to church today; and let’s worship God from the deepest recognition of who we really are.

Peace, love, and promise – DEREK



Categories: Live Like You Mean It

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