Saturday, 15 June 2013

A Short Wedding Sermon with Reference to Jesus, It's Not About Me, Wisdom (with some practical advice) and Love—for Giles and Kelly Talbott

I think it’s fair to say that Jesus, being the Son of God and all, was the smartest and most powerful man who ever lived. So when we consider that the first miracle Jesus, the smartest and most powerful man who ever lived, performed, according John’s gospel, was to turn a hundred and twenty gallons or so of water into really good wine so people could have a really good time at a wedding reception, we have to think that God really likes weddings and marriage. So the fact that Kelly and Giles have chosen to be married in a community and institution that God also holds dear and also created miraculously through Jesus—the Church—is most fitting.

Here’s why.

Although they may not have thought or said this in so many words, Giles and Kelly are here because in their love for each other they have each come to a place where life is no longer all about “me.” Life for each of them is now about another. And part of that development has come also the realization that life for them together, as a married couple, is no longer just about them, but about yet another. The One who created them, knew them by name from before the world began, loves them and will shortly, before out very eyes, make them one flesh in Holy Matrimony. The marriage ceremony is full of 
“it’s not about me, it’s about you” and “it’s not just about us, it’s about God and his creation, Jesus and his church, the Holy Spirit and his help, and the community in which we live and have our being.” It’s about living out of yourselves for each other.

Here’s how.

We heard it in the readings Kelly and Giles chose.
From Proverbs (3:13-18)—be wise. Here’s some wise and practical advice for a happy marriage from the Mother Theresa School kindergarten class:

  • You need a ring, a dress and a cake
  • You will need candles
  • Make sure you have good kids
  • Tell each other you are pretty
  • Go camping
  • Always dance together
  • Have a good day with each other
  • Go out for supper sometimes
  • Always have love together
  • To have a happy marriage my mom and dad lay in their bed. They hold hands and they love each other
  • Say I love you (x5)

The Apostle Paul agrees in the reading from Romans (12:9-13) we just heard. Love, really. Work at it. Rejoice, be patient, pray, help one another. Love. The word used here is not about the romantic love into which Giles and Kelly have fallen. It is much deeper. Romance brought them together, the kind of love Paul writes about will keep them there. It’s what will have them, and some of you, celebrating their fiftieth on June 15th, 2063. Anglican priest and scholar JI Packer describes this kind of love like this:
Its total lack of self-concern is breathtaking. It seeks the other’s good, and the true measure of it is how much it gives to that end. 
Love is a principle of action rather than of emotion. It is a purpose of honoring and benefiting the other party. It is a matter of doing things for people out of compassion for their need, whether or not we feel personal affection for them. (CONCISE THEOLOGY A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, J. I. Packer, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois.)
Listen to the words Jesus uses (Mt 5:1-9). He speaks of the poverty of spirit which enables us to think of others, especially those we love, as better than ourselves. Of comfort, meekness, righteousness of the unselfish kind, mercy, purity of heart and peace. A marriage like that will love you out of your individual selves into a new life together. A life as husband and wife, joined together as one flesh, united just as Jesus is united with the church in which you are about to make your vows before God himself.