Lisa Blair Fratzke
This is a Love Story
Updated: May 25, 2020
There’s a scene in the show Fleabag that may be one of my favorites on TV.
I love the show so much I mentioned it in a blog post a few months ago… but once was not enough. We’ll see if I stop at two.
So, it’s the beginning scene of season 2 and the main character whose real name we do not know (she is simply referred to as “Fleabag”) is staring at herself in a bathroom mirror framed in gold, nicely dressed, and wiping blood off her face. Once she methodically gets all the blood off her nose, she turns to the camera and with a sly smile says: “This is love a story.”
I love a good opening scene. It makes you wonder so many questions. Why is she nicely dressed?! Why is there blood on her face? Who’s love story is it? Is it hers? Who is it with? Is there a happy ending? Is this a tragedy? I NEED TO KNOW.
Every good story begins with a hook that leaves you wanting more.
After that scene in the bathroom, Fleabag’s love story begins to unravel. She falls in love with a priest and the two begin a deep friendship and a complex dance of will they or won’t they. In the end, the priest must choose between his faith and his love for Fleabag.
It’s one of those stories that makes your heart ache and glow at the exact same time.
I think the question the priest faces is one we all believe we have to choose in our daily lives. We think we have to choose between faith in what we cannot see and the reality of life before us. When the invitation is not to choose, but to understand that they can co-exist.
Our love for God and our love for people, our questions and our confidence in Christ, our struggles and our hope. Ideas that may feel like paradoxes can actually exist side by side. They can both be true.
We feel joy and sorrow at the exact same time.
We feel broken and whole.
We feel holy and human.
We are spiritual and physical beings, which means we are always walking around with two different tugs on us – and both are part of who we are.
We don’t treat the Bible like a good story, but it is.
It begins with a bang when Adam and Eve make a choice that dooms humanity to separation from God. If that’s not a good hook, I don’t know what is. What’s going to happen? Will God pursue them? Will humanity accept Him? Will this end badly?! Or will they get back together again?! WE NEED TO KNOW.
The Bible is not just a story about sinners who are forgiven, but about a God who loved us so much he could not let us go.
Throughout the Bible, God relentlessly pursues his people. His people continue to choose what is before them over what is above instead of acknowledging that they were made to hold both the imperfect present in their hands and the external God in their hearts.
The story of Jesus is a story of reconciliation. When God chose to meet us where we are at to say He sees us, He loves us, He accepts us, He forgives us and He desires to be in relationship with us.
So much so that Jesus died and rose again to open the door for a relationship with us through His Holy Spirit.
The Bible is not a self-help book. It’s not a book of rules to measure the worth of our lives or others against. The Bible is the revelation of who God is and His great love for us.
And, it is a love story.