Lighter-than-air “I Love You!”

balloonBy Rev. Lee Prophitt

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:11-16).

It was a message from God above.

Well, in actuality that sentence deserves further content and punctuation. It was a message from God above our heads, floating around the ceiling. Every time we looked up, there it was in crinkly crimson and white.  I don’t mean a leftover “Roll Tide” banner from football days past.  It was a balloon, accidentally freed from its shackles by my 2 year old.  His grandparents got it for him to surprise my wife and me as we returned home from a long weekend.  He loves balloons, loves to jerk them around and not so gently.

This one got free. It has been roaming our den ceiling for 6 weeks; an inflatable hallmark…pun intended.

“I love you,” it reads.

We had forgotten about it most of the time, as our den ceiling is well above 25 feet high.  The balloon was mostly out of sight and out of mind.  Life quickly passed by, like a liberal skirting a Trump rally. It hastened forward unless we pause, decided to look heavenward, and reflected upon the reminder.

“I love you.”

Between my wife and me, the humor of the gift has not been lost, beginning with the first few days.  She would look up and say something like: “It is so nice to have a physical reminder that God loves us.”

“Yes, and in our house of all places. God truly works in mysterious ways.” Shortly after this banter, I am screaming survey answers at Steve Harvey, cooking dinner, and avoiding stepping on children. The normalcy of life. The words dissipating as quickly as a lighter-than-air gas.

“I love you.”

This past Sunday, I rolled out of bed and padded toward the kitchen, because the coffee won’t make itself.  Bam! There it was.

As I rounded the corner, It almost wrapped around my face. I skidded to a stop before the scarlet apparition, shook my head and grinned.

“I love you.”

Helium eventually escapes, and we had documented the slow deflation and knew it would be any day.  The drama of the scene had reached its crescendo and like a drone hovering just in front of my face, I had to pay attention.

“I love you.”

God’s attempts at communication with creation can, at times, be problematic. Yet the Bible is bursting with miraculous signs and wonders, throughout Testaments Old and New. Humanity continues to pursue, with abandon, the adventure in missing the point.

I think it has something to do with our thick skulls. (I should take that up with management later). Sometimes, however, the message is crystal clear and is one with no misstep: God loves you!

I need to hear that this week. We need to hear that every week.  Our world desperately needs to know the words printed on our cheap helium balloon.  Actually, not just know them. Trust them. Ingest them. Own them.

Eventually our messenger will exhale for the last time. We will mourn ironically and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but we will miss it all the same. Those ghostly words can only be described as holy.

“I love you.”

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