April showers bring May flowers. Spring is a time when many romances begin, including my romance with my wife Janice. I am so grateful to have been married to Janice for forty-three years. She is the love of my life and the joy of my heart.
When I was a teenager, I held the unoriginal view that marriage was just a piece of paper, a merely human sociological invention. Since coming to faith in 1972, I have been fascinated by the meaning of marriage. Reading Matthew 19: 6 (What God has joined together…), I was shocked to discover that God invented marriage. I remember sharing with my future wife on our first date in 1975 about my fascination with the theology of marriage. She found me somewhat overwhelming, and told me that she wasn’t ready to commit as she had just broken up with her fiancée.
While completing my Masters, I wrote an essay on the meaning of marriage, with a strong emphasis on the ‘one flesh’ covenant. I concluded the essay by writing our own marriage ceremony and inviting my professor Bill Adams to our wedding. Fortunately he liked the wedding and gave me a good mark. Thirty-six years later, Janice and I are co-leading Strengthening Marriage workshops and Strengthening Relationship groups. I graduated on May 26th 2013 with a Doctor of Ministry, focusing on ‘Strengthening Marriages.’
Part of my North Shore ministry involves visiting extended care facilities where often one spouse has Alzheimer‘s disease and the other doesn’t. I have been so impressed by the love of one North Shore wife for her Alzheimer-afflicted husband who was a former university professor. Her covenantal love and honour for her husband is deeply rooted in his unshakable humanity, being made in God’s image.
A wedding is a celebration of a couple coming to the point where they are truly willing to become one flesh in body, mind and spirit. Marriage is far more than just a contract or a prenuptial agreement. Marriage is a covenant of faith and trust between a man and woman, a covenant grounded for Christians in their shared commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. At the heart of the concept of covenant is unconditional commitment. The hyper-individualism of our consumer culture is the acid rain of covenant love. The busyness and stress of our culture tends to swallow our best intentions even in marriage.
James Olthius, author of I Pledge You My Troth, teaches that marriage is troth, as in ‘I pledge you my troth’. This term, troth, as in betrothal, is an Old English term for truth, faithfulness, loyalty and honesty. At the heart of marriage troth is our pledge ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer , for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”
At the heart of spring romance for me is that assurance that my wife will stand with me through thick and thin, through good times and bad. Janice has my back and I have hers. My prayer for marriages is that God may give us back our first love for each other. May our covenant commitment be like precious gold.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.
Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…
A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.
Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?
Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.
If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or kindle.
-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.
I was the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C for 31 years, from 1987 to 2018. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials
For the past 31 years, I have been privileged to write over 500 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to speak at conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Uganda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Ontario.
My book For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship, coauthored with Janice Hird, can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Better-Worse-Discovering-lasting-relationship/dp/0978202236/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1535555614&sr=8-1
My sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx .
In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx .
It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).
Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox
The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life.
In order to obtain a signed copy in North America of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', Blue Sky, or God's Firestarters, please send a $25 etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org . Cheques are also acceptable.