Love changes everything!

Mass wedding
Afghan mass wedding (Photo: Comfort Aid International)

“Love Changes everything”1 is the title of a well-known song from Aspects of Love, the 1989 musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but it’s also a profound truth. Romantic love can make you feel alive, as though your life has a purpose; each day becomes an adventure, each night a chance to dream, but it’s the love that we show to our fellow human beings that really changes everything.

In a Valentine’s Day report from Afghanistan, NBC News correspondent Mandy Clark reported on the impact that love can make, and is making, on the war against the Taliban. Valentine’s day was banned in Afghanistan when the Taliban were in power, but now love and marriage are being seen as a way of strengthening society and a means of depriving the Taliban of new fighters.

Afghan newlyweds Suliman and Farzana believe that if everyone understood the proper meaning of Valentine’s Day, “there would be no more weapons.” This is not just wishful thinking. Afghan young men have been joining the Taliban for money because they are single and poor. Young, married men, however, have a wife and responsibilities at home.

To improve Afghan society a Muslim charity, Comfort Aid International, have been sponsoring mass weddings in the poorer parts of the country. Thirty-eight couples took part in the latest event. Eighteen year-old Sayeed Hussaini and his bride Fatima could not have got married without the charity’s help. “I’m jobless, but I will not join them,” said Sayeed, determined to avoid the Taliban for the sake of his new wife Fatima.

As Farzana aptly put it, “So when love comes even Taliban cannot stop anybody … Love can change everything!”

Or as Michael Ball sang, “Love, love changes everything: how you live and how you die … Nothing in the world will ever be the same … Love will turn your world around, and that world will last forever … Love will never, never let you be the same.”

Or as Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus obviously knew that … love changes everything!

NOTE:

1 Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics written by Charles Hart and Don Black and sung by Michael Ball.

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A question of love

Asian bride

Thousands of young brides and grooms stepped out of buses and entered the stadium. Many of them barely knew their future spouse, having only spent a week or two getting acquainted. In fact a few of them were only matched days before their wedding, a mass-wedding in the hills of South Korea presided over by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. This unusual spectacle was featured in a UK Channel 4 documentary, Married to the Moonies, which followed three young Londoners as they travelled to Korea to marry the international fiance(e)s chosen for them. The Unification Church, or ‘the Moonies’ as they are sometimes known, has often been called a cult because of their devotion to a charismatic leader, who changes the interpretation of ancient scripture and suggests that he is “The Lord of The Second Advent”, who has come to finish what Jesus failed to do.

In fact Jesus Himself said, ““Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Instead Jesus promised that His return would be unmistakable: “all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30) Jesus also taught that before His return “many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:4-5,10-13)

If “the love of most will grow cold,” how long will the love of those married by Rev. Sun Myung Moon last? Hopefully for a lifetime – marriage and family are the building blocks of a stable society, but just a quick glance at our world today is enough to confirm the truth of Jesus’ prophecy. Although there are many individuals and organisations who show great love and care to others, we live in the midst of a violent world. This week’s events in Syria are a graphic and tragic illustration. Also, human trafficking is rife, causing suffering to countless women and children around the globe. There is increasing pressure in the UK to allow doctors to kill sick or elderly patients in the same way that they are legally able to kill unborn children. Some in our world take home massive salaries while others exist or starve on less than a dollar a day. Will we let our love grow cold as Jesus suggested, or will we be those who overflow with love for God and for others? Whether we influence the world or just our local community, our practical love shown to someone in need can make a world of difference, and not by declaring ourself to be someone great, but by humbling ourself as Jesus did, and honouring and serving our fellow man and woman.