Sunday 14 February 2010

Cupido on the couch

The couch replaced the lectern

I attended a most unusual church service this morning, sometimes I find myself conflicted between the traditional and the trendy, I would not say I am trendy, I seem to have a greater affinity for the traditional – in fact, I remember now that I did not write about the Christmas Eve service which was merry but really not what I was accustomed to – guitars, drums and carols are a bit much for me.

Anyway, after the worship and praise session, I had already noted that the 14th of February provided the opportunity to talk about love and lurve – if you get my drift, a seat and a couch took the place of the lectern and so the cheeky title of “Cupido on the couch” was made manifest, the caption diagram a stiletto shoe playing footsie.

Texting lurve

Our senior pastors, man and wife sat on the couch, another pastor served more or less as the moderator and there was a male and female interpreter to handle the bilingual needs of the church.

We were to send questions by text to the couch where they tackled the matters with wisdom, scripture and insights, I did wonder if there was much in there for me.

Perfection comes from adaptation

There is no perfect human being so there cannot be a perfect fit for a coupling match; in fact we have to find compromises and compatibilities that evolve in the partnership gaining perfection.

We essentially change and adapt within the relationships we form and those relationships are best created in the context of our familiar trusted friends and confidants rather than in isolation where one might be prone to errors of judgment and worse.

Believers and non-believers getting married place strains in spiritual development, however, if the marriage vows pre-existed Christian commitment, grace might minister to the uncommitted.

I could not put my experience in the same context, but in terms of the traditional patriarchal settings of Nigeria, my paternal grandmother was Christian, he, my grandfather was Muslim, neither imposed on the other and their children’s commitments ended up with half of the six children including my father going Christian and the other half Muslim.

Kisses and hands

It got racy as to dating, courtship, commitments and marriage, the first three offering none of the outlets for exploration people might be exposed to – the words of wisdom being the man should “eat the food with his mouth and pay the bill with his hands” – mouth and hands should wander no further.

But then Continental Europe does have more hands and mouth in hugs and kisses than the British Isles, so learning for the pastors I presumed.

As for sex, she said it was like dynamite, used right would create intended results, used wrongly could result in unmanageable consequences – in fact, I expected the dynamite analogy of when lit, it will go off with catastrophic consequences, I was listening.

Sex in all its Scriptural import is meant for marriage, but people get lost and experience this in other settings and for this we were offered the beauty of the grace of God that allows for a clean slate, a new start and a new commitment.

I would suppose this covered the majority of questions including the need for communication, the reservation of quality time to discuss and share, the commonality of purpose especially for spiritual growth and companionship.

The difficult matters

However, there would have been more difficult topics to address in that forum or in any other setting – incompatibilities that lead to divorce, sexual infidelity, child sexual abuse, sexuality, pregnancies, consequences of sex and abortion – issues that do much to excite the church for alternatives to the gospel.

They might be few but there is a danger that these things do not get addressed because the majority seem to satisfy a norm whilst the minority, well, need to find a place to feel safe, to probably feel welcome, to be seen, to be identified, to be helped and maybe given workable solutions.

Maybe such questions were not meant for St. Valentine’s Day and one could not suffer the cupids the debilitating pains of love so seriously abused.

The format was interesting and that really constituted our sermon for the day, a couple received a gift of a night’s stay in a hotel for having celebrated their anniversary recently.

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