Saturday, 3 September 2011

Something More that Makes This Year's Love Last: a Wedding Sermon with reference to David Grey's "This Year's Love" and 1 Cor 13—for Austin & Brittney LaBranche

“This year’s love had better last,” sang David Grey as Brittney walked in with her Dad. We didn’t quite get to, “Sweep me off my feet, singin’ ain’t this life so sweet. This year’s love had better last.” I don’t know who swept who off whose feet but life is pretty sweet today, isn’t it. We’re here because Austin and Brittney have decided “This year’s love had better last,” and what better way to ensure that than to enter into a Christian covenant of Holy Matrimony. To that end they will make solemn vows before all of you and before the living God Himself.
Smart move because the fact is, as David Grey also sings, “It feels so right now,” but pretty soon most of us “start to forget, how my heart gets torn when that hurt gets thrown feeling like I can’t go on.” It happens to all of us. The hurts fly and we are tempted to give up on one another.
Another reason why it’s smart to commit to one another in Christian marriage is because, David Grey again: “If you love me got to know for sure, Cuz it takes something more this time.” More than what? More than just romantic feelings. Christian marriage is the something more; a solemn, purposeful commitment which provides a foundation and a trustworthy home for the sweet, sweep-me-off-my-feet feelings which brought you here today.
How does that work? Austin and Brittney, you’ve made the decision to commit before God. Well done. You must also decide to go beyond the sweet, sweep-me-off-my-feet feelings, children no more, grow up and love each other in the ways St Paul describes in your reading from First Corinthians; with patience, kindness, without envy, pride, rudeness, self seeking or anger; protecting and trusting one another, hoping for the best for one another, persevering in it all. Not always easy but worth the effort especially when those hurts are thrown and you feel like you can’t go on.
Marriage is wonderful, but it’s difficult. Christian marriage has the “something more” that makes you “know for sure” you are loved. The something more is Jesus. This congregation and this building exist because of him. The world was created through him. Men and women and marriage were a part of that very good creation right at the beginning. In the second chapter of the Bible it says a man will leave his family and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh in marriage. In other words, as EM Forrester wrote in A Room with a View, this wedding is a moment for which the world was made and Jesus is at the heart of it. Jesus gave his life on the cross to save Austin and Brittney and their marriage (and all of us) from sin and death if we will only accept it. As we shall shortly pray, the spiritual unity between Jesus and his church will be represented in the covenant of marriage Brittney and Austin are making today. All we do in this celebration is “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Son of God, Saviour of world. Jesus—something more indeed—the ultimate, matchless and perfect expression of God’s love—whose love is the greatest and never fails; making it possible for this year’s love to last—oh, let’s say at least until Saturday, September 3, 2061 when, Lord willing, Austin and Brittney will celebrate their fiftieth. Mark your calendars.