a wedding sermon

After those really deep and meaningful Bible readings (1Cor13, Col3), can I just pause for a second to marvel at how it is that we come to be here today?

I mean, sure it’s a beautiful park and nice enough place for a wedding. But here we are on the edge of Middleton, on the west side, for the two of you east-siders, MG grads who didn’t even really know each other, though you were only a year apart. And somehow that has led to this.

Even more, there are the weird coincidences where you just so happened to be ready and at a good moment to move in with each other, and then found it was easier than you expected, that you got along better than you thought you might, that your levels of cleanliness were pretty similar, except that Dillon was more fussy about the kitchen and Nicole about the bathroom. Sounds like a pretty good pairing to me. We could say that it’s a really random chance that all the pieces fit to arrive right here, right now, that it’s remarkable that life turned out this way.

And we’d have to notice that kind of thing is true for you as individuals, too. It is, indeed, weird Nicole that Dillon is this mix of tough and sensitive, that he’ll race dirt bikes on the weekend but also be content to settle down and watch Teen Mom with you. Yeah, weird. An idiosyncrasy, something that’s only true of him as an individual. And Dillon, the same for Nicole, that she’s so sweet and loving, unless you wake her up too early in the morning, and that she’s less into shopping for brand names than you are. These are just your personalities, your own identities.

And these just happen also to be characteristics that go really well together, that appeal to each other. For all the things that could’ve separated you, that could’ve gotten in the way, that might even have ever prevented you getting together in the first place, here you are. And here you are, ready to commit to so much more in life together.

That’s an exciting thing about a wedding, about marriage. It isn’t just saying that things happen to be going really well, better than you had any reason to expect, that it was a nice coincidence and you hope it will last. Instead, this is a moment where you get to say, “hey, you know what, this is really good and it’s worth some effort to try to make sure it lasts.” This is a time when you vow to do the best you can at that, through good and bad.

So I really like the sand ceremony for the first part of that, the image of two very distinct lives that get all mixed up together, that come to be so stirred together you couldn’t possible separate them again, and that form something even more beautiful when they come together.

I’ll invite you now to pour your sand.  [SAND CEREMONY]

(Maybe it’s okay that not all of your sand poured out of your jars. Maybe we can take that as symbolizing that some of your life remains separate? Maybe it also leaves room to add some sand from Cancun into the central jar, as a sign that fun and relaxation together can cap off all the other parts of life?)

But there’s another part to all of it. Maybe we think of that as the glass vase that holds the sand together. So if we’re talking about the two of you coming together, I suppose in some very basic way we could say that you’re held together by a marriage license at the courthouse, that the law says you are bound together.

In a larger, better way, we’d talk about love as the vase. All of those grains of sand could blow and scatter, even with the littlest bit of wind, the slightest disturbance, but held contained in that glass, they will remain together. Your love that is patient and forgiving and works to help each other and to build trust has been doing that and will continue doing that in your lives together.

And it’s no coincidence that that’s the kind of enduring, lasting love described in your Bible readings you chose. See, love is this invisible larger presence. You can describe how your love works or feels for each other, but you can’t prove it. You can witness that your families and friends love you and support you and help you to stay together, but often can forget that important part. And most definitely this is what God is doing for you and between you, holding all of us together in love, sustaining and preserving us, bringing you through difficulties and enabling beauty and joy.

That’s not just a hypothetical question, that is exactly what we have embodied for us in Jesus, a God whose love persists through the worst, and even goes beyond death for new life. A God who celebrates with us in joy and will even join us in the party. A God who will go so far as to sacrifice himself, to give up his own being, for the sake of the beloved.

That is the kind of love you share, Nicole and Dillon. That is what today is about. And that is what holds onto you from this day forward. Congratulations.