Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The Heart of Bay Ridge
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Sunday Service 10:30am
4th & Ovington Avenues
Brooklyn NY  11209
718.748.9502
Rev. Paul H. Knudsen
Pastor Paul's June Message 
Bethlehem Lutheran Church ®  |  4th & Ovington Avenues, Brooklyn NY 11209  |  718.748.9502
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)


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Dear Members and Friends,

​My final short story for my 8th Grade Christian Living class was “The Falcon” by Giovanni Boccaccio. Love stories have been around forever and this is one of the best. It was written in Italy in the 1300’s. The main character, Federigo, gave up everything in order to win over his true love. He lost his money and his possessions. He needed to work, rather than enjoy a privileged life. Finally, he sacrificed his one last joy, his treasured falcon, in order to please the woman he loved. The end result, Federigo’s true love finally discovered his life of sacrifice for her, they wed, and lived happily to the end of their days.

This month, I have the privilege of performing the marriage ceremony for my daughter, Jessica and her fiancé, Peter. I met with them to plan out their ceremony and then we went out to dinner together. They wanted me to ask all the questions I would normally ask a couple prior to their wedding. Over dinner, I asked them about:

  • Roles around the house (traditional, equal sharing, reversed)?
  • Time with each other (work responsibilities, friends together/separate, hobbies)?
  • How each handles conflict (openness to communicate feelings)?
  • Finances (saver vs. spender). Similar financial goals?
  • Family/in-laws?
  • Children: How many and when?
  • Religious convictions? 

My hope in any of these discussions is that there are no surprises. Never do I want a couple to discover something new or troubling about their future spouse. They need to know what each other’s answers will be. Thankfully, Jessica & Peter seem very in tuned to each other and ready to share their life together. I will have the pleasure of seeing their love grow first hand.

There is no magical advice for me to provide to couples who come to me to get married. I do know however, that a godly sacrificial love is not only the right answer for our life as Christians in this world. A godly sacrificial love is also the right answer for a successful relationship with a partner in marriage. To long to do for the other and make one’s partner happy is critical for a lasting relationship. To put someone else’s needs before one’s own and focus on the well being of one’s spouse is so important. Of course, this needs to go both ways in order for a relationship to be successful, but sacrificial love is so key.

This is my hope, prayer and desire for Jessica & Peter. This is my hope, prayer and desire for all who come to me to be married. This is my hope, prayer and desire for all who are in a committed relationship. Sacrificial love, a willingness to give, provides the foundation for a life of happiness and joy.

In God’s Service,