I am astounded by the sheer number of laughs and memories that have come to mind, which I recall with such affection. As I consider the fondness of these memories, I wonder what it is about them that draws my affection. I have reached a conclusion. It seems that each of these fond memories share a common factor…they are/were all shared experiences. In some way or another, the affection for the memory is due to the fact that community was expressed in the memory.
For example, one fond memory is a simple time when I invited my, would be wife, (though she was clueless at the time,) up to my dorm room (open dorm night), for iced tea and chocolate. It was a terrible combination but it is all I had to offer. I remember with affection the savory sweet time of tea, chocolate, and conversation.
There were a few occasions when I made my way to the mail room to check my usually empty college mailbox that I was surprised to discover that I had a package waiting for me! These are particularly fond memories. Some of the most notable packages that I received were from my mother. Her packages were always filled with the wonderful necessities of college life, homemade lefse and cookies, note cards and ramen noodles. She always gave me enough to share…though I seldom did.
It warms my heart even now to think about those packages, as they are to me a practical display of my mother’s affection.
I have come to believe that we all desire not only love…but also affection. Certainly they go hand in hand. But let’s be honest, how many of us can say that we truly feel affection for the enemy that we are called to love? It is like the difference between choosing to love a difficult person and actually finding yourself “liking” that person.
In Malachi 2:1-16, we will find God inviting people into an affectionate relationship. He is not calling and demanding a bunch of robots to respond. He is beckoning relational people to step into an affectionate relationship with Him, His Word and with each other.
May we come to see the deep affection that God has for each of us and be drawn to embrace the affectionate relationship with our Creator and Savior.