Saturday, 25 June 2011

A Wedding Sermon with Reference to Genesis 1: 26-28, 31A; the Goo Goo Dolls, Josh Groban, Garth Brooks and Sugarland: for Andy and Dalis Hofer

The first thing we need to know today is that, as we just heard, God made us. More to the point, God made Andy and Dalis. Very good! And in the very next chapter of Genesis, God instituted marriage: so “a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are made one flesh, united into one.”

So this a moment connected with God’s very good creation. In fact, as we heard at the beginning of this service, marriage is a gift of God. And not only that, at the end of this service we will pray a blessing on Dalis and Andy asking that they may faithfully live together in this life, and in the age to come have life everlasting. In their marriage is represented, as we shall also pray, the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church. Jesus, the Bible says, is the bridegroom and the Church is his bride. Jesus, the Bible also tells us, is the only way to where that everlasting life can be enjoyed.

In the first song we heard, as the Mums and guys came, the Goo Goo Dolls in the song Iris sang this:
I’d give up forever to touch you…You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be.
I hope not. Although you love each other deeply, and make one another feel good, and even though (as Josh Groban also sang in You Raise Me Up as the ladies came in) when you’re together you can be filled with wonder and sometimes even get to “glimpse eternity,” if you allow one another to be the closest to heaven you’ll ever be, you’ll miss out on the life everlasting we will pray you will enjoy and the great wedding feast when Jesus and his bride, the Church, come together at last. Jesus is the closest to heaven you can be. Please believe in him. Worship him. Become part of his church. You've started your marriage in it, continue your marriage in it. Include Jesus in your marriage.

By the time this service is finished we will have heard the word “love” a couple of dozen, or so, times. The interesting thing is the word that's used has its roots not in the kind of love in which Andy and Dalis have fallen—delightful as that is. It’s a better, deeper kind of love—its called agape in Greek—the John 3:16 for God so loved the world kind of love. It's the fierce love of One who really cares about you. Unconditional positive regard. A love that needs no love in return, that is intelligent, purposeful and strong, always directed to the need of the other. You don't fall in agape, you rise in agape. It's to choice of will, day after day, night after snoring night, ruined toothpaste tube after ruined toothpaste tube, toilet seat up or down…

The Goo Goo Dolls sang:
I just want you to know who I am.
This kind of love makes that happen.

Josh Groban sang:
You raise me up to more than I can be.
That’s what this kind of love does.

As Andy and Dalis sign the register, Garth Brooks will sing,
I would never do you wrong…there ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do to make you feel my love. 
That’s the kind of love we’re hearing about throughout this service. And that’s the kind of love which will have Dalis and Andy celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary on the 25th of June, 2061. Mark your calendars.

I’m going to give Sugarland the last word—we’ll be hearing them as Andy and Dalis head down the aisle into their new married life together:
I'm stuck on you
Whutooo whutooo
Stuck like glue
You and me baby we're stuck like glue.
That’s going to be true. As you will notice in the vows about to be made, there are no loop-holes, you two will be stuck like glue together. Using divine super-glue, the living God himself, who created you, is about to stick you together and make you one flesh and bless your union, all in the name of your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.