Text: Colossians 3:14 (1 Corinthians 13:1-8, Colossians 3:12-17, 1 John 4:16-19)
I’m sure that people who live there get tired of it, but living in Orlando, FL you are ground zero of magic. And magic is something that we are very attracted to, it is whimsical and surprising. But more than that it is immediate. It is like our cell phones. It offers the idea of instant attainment. Especially when it comes to love. Swipe left/swipe right.
But if we listen to the Apostles in the texts you chose, they don’t describe love as a state, but as a virtue. More than that, the highest or the unity of the virtues. And virtues are not things instantly attained. Virtues are acquired by practice and living. How does one become patient? By being patient. How does one become kind, by practicing kindness, especially in hard cases. Now there might be some natural capacity or attraction that starts us on the path to virtue. Love might start out as chemistry and romance. But to have love, we practice it – hourly and yearly.
And marriage is the primary vocation where we practice it. It is patient and kind, does not envy or boast, is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is clothed with compassion and humility and gentleness. It doesn’t fear. The things life throws at us, more true in married life, bring those temptations daily. We practice living love.
We practice not strictly by ourselves, because the perfect love of Jesus Christ has already triumphed. We have been loved perfectly first, so we are enabled to live and practice love to our spouse and our neighbor.
Today, you stand here in faith saying I believe in that love. We will mutually live and practice that love. We will develop that virtue. And we do that, so that 50 years hence, on that golden anniversary, you can look at each other, no longer in faith that love never fails, but in knowledge, deep in your bones, that love never fails. Because you lived it. Your lives have become a witness to the love that never fails. Amen.