a wedding sermon

Those are absolutely beautiful Bible readings you’ve selected, Megan and AJ, among the very best and truest and dearest verses we hold onto, maybe right up there with “The Lord is my Shepherd” of the 23rd Psalm and “for God so loved the world” of John 3:16. 1st Corinthians 13 does so well at capturing the essence of love, giving details that are typically too hard to explain without poetry or the emotions of movies or just simply having the chance to live into it and discover that love is indeed what it’s like to be patient and forgiving and enduring, and, yes, that to be kind and hopeful and harmonious is to be in love, which is better, really, than anything else. These readings get it. And, obviously, they do a better job of putting words to your love for each other today and what that will mean for the years ahead than anything I could come up with, nor is it ever effective to try to give a lecture on how somebody should be loving; it just doesn’t work that way, and it’s especially unnecessary right now.

So I’m going to go ahead and talk about something else, or at least a slightly different perspective. See, the Bible reading talked about what will abide, what will endure, what lasts and lasts, maybe forever.

But from that trajectory years and decades into the distant future or even eternity, I want to go in the opposite direction and reflect for a moment on the start, the beginning, the stuff that’s brand new. For that, I’m also going to throw one more brief biblical idea into the mix, which from 2nd Corinthians (5:17) says, “everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” Or from the end of the Bible (Revelation 21:5) of God saying, “see, I am making all things new.”

It’s not just the endurance of love or condition-less infinity of love, but also this brand new-ness of love. That’s been easy to see and to celebrate for the two of you, of looking back to days new lives and choices in LA when you were getting to know each other and really finding a good and comfortable pairing in that faraway place. Or maybe we fast-forward to the newness of choosing to move to Madison, back to the Midwest but with an entirely new place to be, plus a new home and new people and a new job and new surroundings. Or maybe we think of what was new and different in the past year and a half as you were back in school, Megan, and living in Indiana and as you two were trying to discover how to be a couple across that distance.

And looking forward a bit from now, we think about what’ll be different with a new job and new commuting and new schedules to share between you and new income that changes what you’re working on and accomplishing together and the dynamics of your relationship.

More than all these details is how you relate to each other. Within your relationship it’s so beautiful and exciting that—sort of strange for a guy—you are such a good listener, AJ, and always ready to engage with each new situation that Megan is facing. And Megan, perhaps unusual for a woman, that you are such a good doer and eager to learn how to do oil changes and the projects AJ is up to.

Maybe that, then, becomes the heart in reflecting on all this newness. It isn’t that this wedding day marks such an innovation, such a totally new beginning for you two, that everything will be absolutely different after today. Though I’m guessing you won’t wake up feeling quite the same tomorrow or in these next weeks as the awareness dawns on you, “we’re married!”, still, you’re right, there’s plenty that won’t change. Yet you won’t be just waking up to the same boring person or having the exact tired old disagreements. Rather, each moment together is one that hasn’t happened before, that invites you to live into it with each other, to live it fully. As you are with each other—really with each other—through all of these moments that are to come, there will be continual newness and, as God spoke in that Bible verse, always being made new, always renewed.

Indeed, this is the sort of thing your vows are going to promise to each other, to share all that is to come, to listen and respond, in all circumstances with your whole life and all your being. That you’re already living into that with love is great. And it will be exciting and delightful that each day will continue to be new.

And then, as your vows conclude with the word of death’s parting, then in faith we trust there is yet again something new to come, one more surprise. So as you’ve already experienced, as you’ll continue to see day-by-day, and as we can only imagine into eternity, we trust that God in love is making all things new.

Thank you for inviting me to be part of your newness, and congratulations and all blessing on the way you’re experiencing it together.

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