While I have made some considerable progress over the years in being more thoughtful about my wife, it would be stretching credulity to call me romantic. I like a night out at our favorite restaurant, and I enjoy getting her flowers or gifts, but when it comes to what is romantic to me, it’s simple things. Like taking a walk together. Sitting and talking on the back porch. Holding hands as we pray. Sharing popcorn. Watching the Cardinals win a close game! I like making her laugh and encouraging her to buy something for herself that she is hesitant to buy. It helps that she is a very stingy shopper. She can shop all day and not purchase a thing! Is that romantic or what!
I think it’s ironic, and funny for those of us who love words, that romantic means loving gestures or attraction, and also “having no basis in fact: imaginary,” as in romantic literature. I think I have seen it be both at the same time! So, what kind of sermon can be titles Radical Romance? Is it about love or lunacy? It may be a stretch to call Paul’s message in Ephesians 5 about marriage Radical Romance, but I think we have missed the beauty and simplicity of what he is teaching. His challenge to husbands and wives is so spiritually beyond how we think and act in our marriages that many of us have treated the text like a…well, like romantic literature. It sounds beautiful, but we don’t identify with it. It’s too unrealistic, too intimidating, and too …ideal!
Maybe it’s not. Maybe what we need to do is see it within the context that Paul wrote it. Last week we looked at some of the principles of a godly relationship and now Paul is getting to the practice part of what he’s teaching. If the principles are true, the practices must be applied in our most important relationships. The oneness of a marriage relationship is one of the oldest things in all of creation. It is second only to the oneness of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit! It’s older than the church.
Maybe this classic passage needs to be seen as part of the bigger picture of our walk with God. Marriage may just be a tool from God to help us understand Him and love Him the way we are supposed to love Him. Read Ephesians 5:22-33 and then go back and read 5:1-21. See if that doesn’t help you understand what he is saying. Join us Sunday morning and I will share some things that will help you love this great passage even more. In the meantime, what would you say is the definition of Radical Romance?