Dear Family and Friends of Trinity,

  Nearly 30 years ago Collin Raye, on an Album “In This Life” sang a song, “That Was a River”, which because of it’s words and melody has remained a favorite of mine.  Perhaps some of you will remember it too.  The chorus went as follows:


That was a river

This is an ocean,

That never carried this much emotion,

Nothing compares to this deep devotion,

That was a river,

This is an ocean.



   Raye’s song is a sweet, rather pretty country sound comparing a past love to the intensity of a current love, but hidden within the romantic intent of the song is a profound theological truth. (I seriously doubt the writers of the song intended that.) While the loves, passionate and otherwise, of this earth are sweet, powerful, and life altering, they are mere rivers-creeks in fact—to the love God has for us in Jesus Christ.  ( This letter is written in past tense, if it applies now, change the verb tense to meet your situation…the fact remains, then or now, God’s love is an ocean!)


   Did you know the protecting, sustaining love of parents who gave you life and nurtured you in growth?

      That was a river. God’s love is an ocean.


  Did you know the joy of loving brothers and sisters, with whom you shared common life experiences, family history, and loyalty?

    That was a river. God’s love is an ocean.


   Did you have the privilege of sharing your life and love with a spouse who treasured, respected, and honored you, in faithfulness and trust?

    That was a river, God’s love is an ocean.


 Did you have children who meant more to you than life itself, in whom you saw the future and for whom you sacrificed so they would have things you never had?

   That was a river. God’s love is an ocean.


  Did you have friends who in love were always there for you, to encourage, to support, to help, to laugh or to cry with, as the situation demanded?

   That was a river. God’s love is an ocean.


   Did you know no love or nurture from family or friends?  Do you live alone, and sad?

    That is a desert.  God’s love is an ocean.


   That is the good news!  In Jesus Christ, God sent us a Valentine that said, ‘You are loved! You are loved”!  You don’t have to do anything (in fact you can’t do anything) to merit or earn God’s love.  It is unconditional!  You don’t have to be born into a certain family or faith group to know this love.  It ‘s God’s free gift—free to us but it cost the life of His Son.


   Ponder it this week.  God’s love is an ocean!  Happy Valentine’s Day.


   In Christ’s Peace and Joy,

   Pastor Penny Ritter


(Collin Raye: album “In This Life” produced by Garth Fundis and John Hobbs, Sony label 1992, written by Susan Longacre and Rick Giles.)


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