And it’s a lot better than those funny commercials with the two bathtubs, and the guy is, well, ready.
Hardly anything matches the dimension of my work that places me under a wedding canopy with two young people in love and declaring promises to each other. I see the groom clinging to his bride; his normally restless eyes are moist with rapture.
When the young man weeps, I have more confidence in the marriage, because it sends me back to another young man in the old Scripture.
Jacob loved Rachel so much that it made him cry.
In Genesis, normally associated with creation and argued over by scientists and protégés of Darwin, there is a story of a young man’s bursting tenderness for a woman. Jacob loved Rachel so much that it made him cry.
The Bible is often pigeon-holed as a manual of miracles, a catalog of cataclysms. It surely contains these types of wonders, but the truth is that the Bible is more so the story of real people experiencing delicate moments than it is an anthology of supernatural interventions. We are taught about the great floods, the partings of the seas, the breaking open of the earth, the thunder and lightning of revelation.
But the quieter moments—when fathers and sons bless each or hurt each other, when mothers and daughters heal or deceive each other, when two people fondle each other—outnumber the big moments of divine disclosure and celestial transformation. Most of the Scripture takes place on the earth, in tents, in open fields, under the sky, close to the heart. There are a lot of love stories in the Bible, simply because there are a lot of people in the Bible coming of age, struggling with loneliness, yearning for affection.
So, Jacob may have been the patriarch of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, but long before that, he was a young man in love. In the twenty-ninth chapter of Genesis, Jacob longs for a wife. He discovers his sweetheart in the fields. The Bible is not embarrassed by sentimentality, or by the confession of a man’s heart. Scripture speaks plainly: “And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.”
Again, some readers of the Bible may be surprised to learn that such a direct account of human affection is part of the canon. But this is how life is, especially when fresh love transforms two people. It is a nascent, exhilarating condition that has as many biblical proportions as the freedom stories and the national dramas of sacred writ. Romance, desire, passion, even lust—all these appear in the Bible just as surely as people are what God created to make the Bible come to life.
In the throes of newly declared love, who hasn’t shed or at least considered tears? Who hasn’t known the accompanying delicious, salty sensation that clogs your throat? Who hasn’t felt the enlivening compulsion to “lift up his voice?” Touched by romance, feeling the flush of a new future with a devoted partner without whom you couldn’t imagine living, who hasn’t at least thought of shouting or singing for joy? This breakthrough, this surge of relief and anticipation that only a human heart can know, is as old as the Bible and as new as what you feel this day as you consider the place of amore in your life.