If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13, ESV)
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
You know, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to work in a sports metaphor for your marriage. You know, Dane is QB & Jordan is Half Back; Pitcher, Catcher, Running a marathon, winning / losing a national championship… Couldn’t get anything to work the way I thought it might. So… I decided to drop the whole sports metaphor for marriage. It’s a good thing really, because the more I thought about it the more I realize that love and marriage aren’t a sport.
Love is a choice. Just look at what St. Paul says about love in the reading.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Notice how nothing he says, says anything about the feelings of love. He’s not discounting the feelings of love, he just knows the truth about people. Feelings come and go. Dane and Jordan, today you have all those mushy, in love, feelings. Who wouldn’t! It’s your wedding day. You are surrounded by all your family and friends. Everything is focused on your love. It’s great. But, remember, love isn’t a sport. It isn’t just feelings. Love is action and those actions are lived everyday by choice. You could add a few words to every phrase of the reading and not change a thing about what it says. Love is patient and kind, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Love does not envy or boast, even if it feels like it. It is not arrogant or rude, even if you’re mad him Jordan. It does not insist on its own way, even though you will want to Dane. It is not irritable or resentful, even if you feel that way. It doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth, even when it hurts. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things, even when these things are the farthest things from your thoughts. It’s all about choosing to love instead of what you want to do in the heat of the moment. Deciding to love each other
…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part…
So, just how successful are you going to be at doing this your whole marriage, your whole life together? Today it’s easy, tomorrow too, most likely. But what about when the money runs out, and Dane is on the road more than you think he should be? Or Dane how about when she’s working those extra shifts and you are sitting home alone? Or the toilet seat doesn’t get put down for the thousandth time and the dishes are stacked up in the sink? You are making promises today that you can’t possibly keep perfectly.
So, what is your marriage doomed? Hardly. That’s exactly why we are here, isn’t it. In this marriage service you aren’t just making promises. You are making promises in the sight of God and these witnesses and inviting your Savior to be with you in your marriage. It’s the most important thing you can do when you are married. You will fail each other, often. You need forgiveness for your failures. And that’s what Jesus brings. He was crucified, dead and buried and raised again to new life, for your sins, especially for the sins that you both bring to this marriage. Forgiveness is what allows you to move forward past the hurt. It is just a fact of life that you will sin against each other more than you will sin against anyone else. So you need to forgive each other more than you need to forgive anyone else. Jesus forgives you. In that forgiveness you can / will forgive each other. The key to living in forgiveness is to do what God says to do. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. It is best to do it out loud in those very words. “Dane, I forgive you, in the name of Jesus.” “Jordan, I forgive you, in the name of Jesus.” Those exact words are the most important words you will speak after “I do”! Forgiveness changes things. Jesus forgives you and in faith, you will forgive each other.
Jesus is a part of your marriage and your life together. It’s the forgiveness. The author of Ecclesiastes says it like this:
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV)
God’s richest blessings on your marriage. Amen.
The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Amen.