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Rite of passage: Love Potion No. 9

It was 1963; I was a pimply-faced, hormonally imbalanced 12-year-old. Half the world was telling me to find myself, and the other half was telling me to get lost.

I wasn’t alone. I had plenty of company known as the Baby Boomers; we were all in the same boat without a sail. The turmoil of the ’60s wasn’t helping us feel secure: riots in the street; draft dodgers protesting against the Vietnam War; LSD, marijuana and other life-escaping drugs were readily available.

But the biggest escape for most of us was the music. Many of the early ‘60s songs had to do with love, and we desperately wanted to love and to be loved.

Our family had a small portable record player. It was one of those boxy-looking things with a lid and handle so you could carry it around. This was way before eight-tracks or cassette tapes came out.

Inside the box was a small turntable and a knob that let you play back your record at either 33 1/3, 45 or 78 revolutions per minute. We Moore boys had a number of children’s albums that our parents had bought us with the familiar children’s songs and stories.

In those days, I had a job as a paper boy and, for the first time, my own income. I went out and bought my first record: a 45 rpm of “Love Potion No. 9.” This funny little song that describes a man who is seeking help to find love. In his search, he comes upon a magic concoction called “Love Potion No. 9.”

He drinks it and falls in love with everything he sees, kissing whatever is in front of him. The song ends with “But when I kissed a cop down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine/ He broke my little bottle of Love Potion No. 9.” The song was cute, but we all had a desire to find that love potion.

Soon, I started buying other records: “Somebody to Love,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “What the World Needs Now is Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” The list goes on and on of songs about needing, wanting and trying to find this thing called love. This music still speaks to a need everyone can relate to.

But the problem is that music won’t give you love. The Bible tells us love is not based upon emotions or feelings but on a person. 1 John 4:8 puts it very simply: “God is love.”

The songs of the ‘60s tapped into the emotions and feelings of love with songs like “Strangers in the Night,” but didn’t connect us with the author and the essence of love, which is God.

Does love contain emotions and feeling? You bet your sweet 33 1/3 it does, but you can’t build a relationship or a life on emotions or feelings. Just ask any couple who has been married a week.

True love must have an unshakeable foundation that is only found in God.Since we are all created in the image of God, and God is love, we all have the capacity to love and be loved.

I was speaking in San Antonio recently when I got a text from my wife with three photos attached. She knows there is nothing I love more than getting pictures of my family when I am away.

It seemed that my grandsons, Titus the Honorable and Cohen the Good-hearted, were visiting their Grandpa Wayne only to discover that he had a yard full of puppies. Of course, those two little boys went into “Can we take one home?” mode, and even texted Grammy to see if she needed a puppy.

One of the photos shows Cohen holding a little brown puppy ever so gently and carefully. His head is tilted to the side so he can look into the little dog’s eyes, and you can tell he loves that puppy. God has created us to give and receive love.

I love my grandsons; I love pictures of them; I even love what they love, but that isn’t enough. I don’t need a love song; I need to know the Person of love, and that is God:

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, His love endures forever” (Ps. 126:36).

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5).

You see, the love of God is greater than anything—even Love Potion No. 9.

Walker Moore

Author: Walker Moore

View more articles by Walker Moore.

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