When separated mum-of-two Alice hits her 40th birthday she decides to go out on the town to celebrate with her two friends. However she soon encounters a problem, in the shape of Teddy, George and Harry, the wannabe film makers who are trying to make it in LA. Specifically she has a problem with 27 year old Harry, who she bumps into at the bar.
There is clearly an attraction there and before long the three soon-to-be-evicted lads are not only enjoying the evening with Alice and her two friends, they also end up crashing out at Alice’s expansive, luxury apartment.
Romance does not feature highly in the Bible, although the entire book of Song of Songs is an intense love poem, often seen as an allegory regarding God’s love for people. Mary and Joseph may well have been in love, but we are not told that. In the Old Testament Ruth woos Boaz, encouraged to do so by her mother-in-law Naomi, and love may have developed, but it was as much a marriage of arrangement to provide a future for the two women. It is sometimes imagined that King Xerxes was madly in love with Queen Esther as we are told, ‘the king loved her more than all the other young women’ in his Harem. But given that this is in the context of a sensual, king-pleasing arrangement it is more likely that this refers to Esther ‘performing well’ and thereby pleasing the king in bed. There are two stories where romantic love does appear. Isaac is heartbroken after the death of his mother when Rebekah rolls up, and tumbles off her camel. The two make eye contact across an uncrowded field and Boom! Love at first sight, more or less. And we are told that Rebekah’s love comforts Isaac in his grief. (Genesis 24 v 67) They marry, have two boys and the plot thickens. The other tale of romance also has a thick plot. Saul’s daughter Michal is already deeply in love with young David when she is handed to him as a kind of trap-trophy by her scheming father. (1 Samuel 18 vv 20-27) Michal doesn’t mind, she is head-over heels for the young ex-shepherd, and even saves his life not long after they are married. (1 Samuel 19 vv 11-17) However, she has her heart well and truly broken when David flees into the desert and doesn’t bother to call, Snapchat, text or email. Damaged and embittered by the men in her life she later despises the king she once loved so much.
One of the things I really like about the Bible is its honesty, the writers did not hold back when describing the reality of their lives with God. And they tell the stories of love and romance with the same honesty. Life does not go as we plan, it often ambushes us, and relationships are a struggle. And that brings us to the psalms – prayers, songs and pleas for every season of life. Psalm 6 is a prayer for those times when things have gone very wrong, so much so that loneliness, trouble and fears bring us to tears when we try and sleep at night. ‘In this world you will have trouble…’ Jesus once said, having had plenty himself on a daily basis. He knew that following him would not bring an end to our problems. But he promised us that he would always be always with us, in the good and bad times. A helper who understands real life in all its complexities, pleasures and pains.