I don’t usually add these occasional sermons. They usually are so specific to the event that I don’t think there is much that someone could get out of them without that background. This is one I think a little differently about. I really liked this sermon (if I do say so myself). It is short, a quick read and I think presents the gospel in a light and attractive way. It might be worth your 5 minutes whether married 5 mins or 10 years.
Text: 1 Cor 12 – 13
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…”
Our generation has been chastened from some of those stark statements, but we still gather in joy at weddings. Brides – like Delia here, and grooms –like Curtis – will come before God and their assembled family and friends and promise shortly to love, honor and keep in sickness and in health. They will pledge to each other their faithfulness. In other words, to promise that love never ends.
But St. Paul – the writer of those words – is not naïve about love. Listen to how he defines love. It bears all things. So when the mountain top experience of the wedding day is a distant memory replaced by the mountain of laundry. Love bears it.
Love believes all things. I don’t think that St. Paul is asking us to be intentionally stupid here, but is saying that love puts the best construction possible on your spouse’s actions. So when he’s watching football on your anniversary – it is not because he’s an ingrate, but because he really means it’s a big game. Or when she claims that new furniture is needed or that you need to forget about the game to decorate a room – love believes this is a necessity.
And probably most importantly – love hopes all things. Your hopes are now for each other and jointly as a couple. Love chooses to place its hope in your partner – even when it might not be the smart thing. Love choses to hope in the union – when something else might look more hopeful.
And all of these bearing, believing, hoping, enduring…these actions of love are not easy, but they are your choice. The world wishes to say that love should be easy. From mountaintop to mountaintop. God’s revelation is that love is both easy and hard…and much more defined by the hard…and it is in our hands. We choose to continue to love, even when something might not be loveable.
The truth is that none of us will ever live up to that. But we have been given an example and a promise. Christ loved his bride the church. Such that he bore the cross for her. Believes that she is the best thing even though church history might say otherwise, continues in word and sacrament to hope for her… and Christ’s love for His bride the church does not end. How Christ deals with the church is the ideal for marriage – with hope and faith , with forgiveness, and greatest of all, with love.
So we gather in joy for a wedding, because we commit ourselves to that ideal. And we commit to that knowing that Christ has already lived it for us. That when we are weak, He still loves us…and allows us to renew our lives though His never-ending love. Amen.