Haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling: 42 years into a great marriage

– Happy anniversary to us! (Photo by Gayle Akerman)

“Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
 Lay aside immaturity, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”

Proverbs 9:5-6

Today I want to lead with a scripture I first quoted a couple of days ago. I can’t get it out of my head, especially in these times when so many who fly the flag of Christianity hang their hats on ideas so antithetical to the Way of Jesus it is impossible to understand where the Gospel of Love even begins to fit in.

Simply put, the call to truly live is not only a beautiful testimony to goodness and light, it is the most essential focus of the teachings of Jesus. Not so much a rule or doctrine as a beautiful invitation.

To live into the beauty of this amazing gift that is life. To live in the light and the possibility that faith offers. To live because the promise of abundant life is the reason Jesus came – inviting us to participate in God’s ongoing initiatives of light, love, mercy, justice, reconciliation, and grace.

Could the gospel message be any more clear?

The amazing gift of this marriage!
– Happy number 42!!!

I am thinking about this also in the context of the 42nd wedding anniversary Rebekah and I are celebrating today. Because Christ’s invitation is a lot like a great marriage. Real life doesn’t just happen, without any investment; neither does a rich spiritual walk; and the same is true in marriage. If we want to breathe the rarified air and enjoy the view at the top of the mountain then we must put in the imagination, the work, the commitment, the patience, the kindness, the consistently, the putting our spouse first, the unconditional love… and so much more.

I heard this snippet of dialogue recently, taken from the 2004 movie “Sideways.” Maya and Miles are talking about wine:

MAYA: "Why are you so into Pinot? It's like a thing with you?"

Miles laughs at first, then smiles wistfully at the question. He searches for the answer in his glass and begins slowly.
MILES: "I don't know. It's a hard grape to grow. As you know. It's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's not a survivor like Cabernet that can grow anywhere and thrive even when neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention and in fact can only grow in specific little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing growers can do it really, can tap into Pinot's most fragile, delicate qualities.
     "Only when someone has taken the time to truly understand its potential can Pinot be coaxed into its fullest expression. And when that happens, its flavors are the most haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling and ancient on the planet..."

Our flavors are the most haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling on the planet. That and a whole lot more.

Happy anniversary, Rebekah. Thanks for this ongoing invitation to really live – DEREK


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