Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Love locks … you may have seen them in a movie or television show where the couple places a lock on the bridge vowing their eternal love for each other and then throwing the key in the river guaranteeing their lock of love and for each other would remain forever. You may have even been one to those who have placed a love lock on a bridge, a fence, a gate or a monument as a testimony of commitment to love each other and promise to remain bonded together throughout your life together. And for some the lock represents the undying love for someone they have lost.
My first experience of actually seeing a bridge with love locks came in 2016 when I traveled to Salzburg, Austria, with my sister and again witnessing it in 2018 when I traveled there with my wife. Both times we boarded a train from Munich and spent an hour and half observing the green rolling country side of farms and houses on our way to Salzburg to enjoy a day of sightseeing and adventure. Prior to leaving the Salzburg train station, we picked up a complimentary map of the city and started our walking journey to the only two destination places we had planned, the Mirabell Garden and the cemetery where they filmed the Sound of Music. Mirabell Garden was the first stop. It is not far from the train station while the the cemetery at St. Peter’s Church was across the river. After visiting the garden observing the Pegasus fountain where the children danced around the fountain and sang “DO – RA – MI”, we headed for the river to get to the other side to see the cemetery.
When we arrived at the river there it was, the bridge with hundreds of love locks on each side attached to its chain link fence. There were locks of different sizes, different makes, different shapes, and different colors. Some of the locks had initials with hearts around them while others had first names written on them and others were blank. What all of them had in common, a tradition that is dated back to WW I, is a lock with no key to be found thus proclaiming to the world their eternal love for each other.
Love locks like I saw in Salzburg are not uncommon in other towns and cities around the world like Berlin, Tokyo, Las Vegas, and Paris. While most of the couples who place their love lock on a fixture have the basic understanding of the lock representing eternal love for each other, a Parisian waiter is quoted as saying this about love locks. He said they had it all wrong, “To love truly is to want the other free, and this includes the freedom to walk away. Love is not about possession or property. Love is no prison where two people are each other’s slaves. Love is not a commodity, either. Love is not capitalist, it is revolutionary. If anything, true love shows you the way to selflessness.”
While his point of view is based on our love for one another it is also an illustration of God’s love for us. God’s love for us is eternal and revolutionary in that He will never give up loving us no matter who we are or what we have done. As the Psalmist wrote“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” ( Psalm 86:15 ) thus assuring us that His love is steadfast and eternal. God’s love is a covenant and binding love even when we turn away from Him. Throughout scripture we find times when Israel had turned away from God and yet God pursued them to return. His pursuit was not by force and forcing them to return rather it was a steady call to remind them of His unconditional love for them.
God’s love not only applied to Israel, it also applies to all of us today. God’s heart is that we would know and experience His unconditional love so that no matter what we are experiencing in our life He is there to sustain, encourage, and lead us. The Apostle Paul reminds us … that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
A love lock is a commitment by both to love each other unconditionally for a life time. When we love God it is not just for this life time it is also for a life eternal with Him. God’s love for us is never ending and abounding and our love lock for God is to “… love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37). Will you place a love lock with your name and God’s on the gate of your heart and proclaim to world His love for them is the same as His love is for you.