Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Inadequacy of Love Songs (And how newlyweds Chris and Meghan Chapman are awesome)

Here's a truth that people who really like listening to today's radio-friendly pop music will probably find offensive: Most of today's love songs suck. Most love songs aren't actually love songs, but some deformed, wart-ridden offshoot of love. I was at my friend's house a few weeks ago having a bollywood-themed party (yes, you read that correctly. We're THAT cool), and a song popped into my head: Accidentally in Love by Counting Crows. Naturally, I started singing it:

C'mon, c'mon, move a little faster
C'mon, c'mon, the world will follow after
C'mon, c'mon, everybody's after love
Accidentally in love

My friend Cristina immediately asked, "how can you be accidentally in love? Love is a choice!" While I'm pretty sure that Counting Crows was merely singing about the emotional, butterflies-in-your-stomach part of love, that is precisely the problem. Most love songs sing about how love is merely a feeling, merely an emotional response - no consideration given to the selfless, aspect of choosing another over yourself. Other hit songs that have been on the radio with lyrics like "I'm only gonna break your heart," "all I ever wanted was a one night stand," and "I love the way you lie" show this as well. Even songs like Bruno Mars' Lazy Song, with lyrics about casually finding a nice girl to "have some really nice sex" really add to the divide of the body and soul, mind and heart, natural and supernatural, that love is supposed to unite. Our culture misses the mark, but in repeatedly doing so, shows how much we are starving for it.

And then there's Chris and Meghan.

Wedded on May 21st 2011, these two really good friends of mine exemplify the love that God wishes to give to all of us. I had a theological geek out moment during their ceremony as they were kneeling in front of the altar.

The tabernacle, housing the new covenant - love.
The eucharist on the altar, Christ's own body and blood given to us - love.
The crucifix above the altar, with Christ defeating sin and death - love.
Chris and Meghan, representing Christ and the Church - love.
The love between Chris and Meghan.
The love between the Father and the Son.
An earthly Trinity, and a heavenly one - love.

This love song that they sing with their vows, with their bodies, and with their very lives, is definitely not inadequate. With the Grace of God, this love that they share will conquer all. Their relationship is SELFLESS. They are a genuine example of how we should love others. It was because of this, and because they fit so perfectly with each other, that I found myself getting more emotional during the ceremony than I thought I would.

The song that they used for their first dance as a married couple was also a testament to the strength of their love. I'd call it the Christian version of Jordin Sparks' Battlefield. Instead of asking why love has to be a battlefield, Chris and Meghan's song Dancing in the Minefields accepts that love is a battlefield, because it involves dying to self - and that that process is a beautiful thing:

'I do' are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another, I've heard
Is a good place to begin...

We're dancing in the minefields (don't give up on me)
We're sailing through the storms (don't give up on me)
This is harder than we dreamed but I believe
That's what the promise is for

As I watched Chris and Meghan dance to this song, I could see that they were also singing it to each other, and I just about completely lost it. This is the promise that they have made with each other - this is the promise of Christ. To stand firm in God, and know that in all hardship and distress, "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37). 'Don't give up on me.' I KNOW that Chris and Meghan will NEVER give up on each other. In their relationship, I see the love of Jesus Christ.

If you are a woman and can find a husband who is half as much of an authentic man as Chris is - ka-ching! If I can find a wife who is half as much of an authentic woman as Meghan is, I will be more than ecstatic. The number one responsibility of a husband, and the number one responsibility of a wife, is to get their spouse to heaven. To push their spouse to love, to push their spouse to humility and sacrifice and charity and selflessness, and in doing so, have them open themselves up to the Grace of God, so that they can live eternally in God's kingdom. And If the love that Chris and Meghan have for each other is ANY indication, they will not have any trouble getting there.

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