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That Dynamic Duo

I took a trip recently down “memory lane” via that modern miracle called “YouTube.” There I watched Daryl Dragon (The Captain) working magic on his keyboard. He was attempting to coax laughter from his wife, Toni Tennille. The interplay between the two of them is precious. They are singing, “Muskrat Love,” on their variety show which aired in the late ’70’s. She keeps looking over to him as if warning him to keep things in line. He cuts loose on the instrumental synthesizer solo meant to sound like muskrats talking. He’s playing with her, trying to make her laugh. And he does. It seems obvious that these two are in love.

The reason that I pulled up this video springs from some news I read this past week. The Captain and Tennille are divorcing after 39 years of marriage. They have been performing together since 1972. Married on Veterans Day of 1974. He’s 71 and she’s 73 years old! Somehow they couldn’t keep it together.

Which is ironic, since that duo’s first hit single was a Neil Sedaka song called, “Love Will Keep Us Together.” The lyrics of that tune make such grand promises. Such as, “I will, I will, I will, I will / Be there to share forever / Love will keep us together…” And, “Look in my heart and let love keep us together…” There is at least one problem with such promises. They fail. They’re false. Because Love, by itself, is never enough to “keep us together.” What’s needed for relationships to thrive is that dynamic duo of Love and Forgiveness.

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Colossi where he is describing the attributes of the new self in Christ, he lists several virtues which a believer should endeavor to own. In the middle of this list, Paul writes, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Col. 3:13-14 NIV)

Later in the New Testament, Peter picks up the same theme as he writes in 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Here he reenforces the link between deep love and forgiveness. Love, true love – not that candy-coated, ooey-gooey romanticized version of love found in Harlequin romance novels – requires the real effort of forgiveness. Why? Because neither party in the love relationship is perfect. None of us are without sin. We all need to be forgiven, most of us on a daily basis.

I feel sad for the Captain and Tennille. They looked so happy together in the video I watched. Their songs were a part of my childhood, and now with their split, those memories are tainted. It’s up to you and me to learn from their mistakes.

As we approach this season of Valentine’s Day, we are told that love is as simple and capricious as a cute, little cherub shooting an arrow into our hearts. Don’t buy into that lie. True love is hard work. Lasting love requires forgiveness as its partner. Together love and forgiveness bear the fruit of a long, vibrant relationship.

Praying for you and I (and our Valentines) this month that we learn the truth about what “keeps it together.”

Pastor Clint

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