From New York City's spectacular show to the backyard simplicity of sparklers, smoke bombs and ground spinners, for over fifty years I've enjoyed the privilege of having my fourth of July decorated with its own unique display of fireworks. I accept each one as a priceless gift, for the celebration of freedom isn't about any momentary sensation of exploding light. At the end of the day, the sky grows dark even after the most spectacular show. Just like the backyard sparklers and spinners, fireworks all end with a fizzle no matter how grand.
This year my husband and I listened to the thunder of celebration echo through the night as we watched the flashes of a million sparkling explosions lighting up the Michigan sky from our highrise apartment in Detroit. Standing mesmerized in the peaceful serenity of our bedroom, we watched the span of the horizon burst with patterns of colorful celebration as America declared her freedom with dazzling flare. It was a fascinating spectacle.
As I stood there in the still of the night with my forever faithful friend, I found myself thinking about how the scene before me so beautifully portrayed the life of love. True love. Love that sets us free from our sin and saves us from ourselves. Love that is celebratory and filled with nights of razzle and dazzle that light up the sky, but love that shines far superior to any passing pleasure. Love that is enduring. Love that isn't seduced by the sensation of any fading light, but secured by the source of Eternal Light. Faithful love. Faithful when the explosives don't thunder and the sparks don't fly. Faithful when the sky grows dark and the night grows still.
The world is increasingly conditioning us to desire and demand the spectacular. It's conditioning us to desire and demand love that lights up the sky and shakes our soul silly as it thunders its way to the core of our being. It's conditioning us to desire and demand love that leaves us breathless with brave and brutish desire. The world is conditioning us to celebrate the freedom of love, even as its enslaving us to our fleshly desires and selfish demands for the sensational.
The world doesn't understand that the love of God is the only love that is brave and brutish enough to leave us eternally breathless. That the love of God is the only love that can shake our soul silly and thunder its way to the core of our being. The world doesn't know that any other love is too fleshly and frail to endure. It doesn't see that the seduction of every other love is a fading flash of light that will only ever shine for a season.
Thank you, Jesus, for genuine love. Thank you for enduring love. Please help us, for we are in desperate need of your grace. Consume our hearts with yourself, leaving no room for sensational desires that rob us of the love that is faithful when the fireworks fizzle.