June 1, 2013

The three-minute wedding sermon

I bid you each, one and all, a warm welcome this afternoon
  As we have gathered to celebrate the marriage of Stephanie and Jordan.
It’s a wonderful day.
I’m so glad I can say I took my part in it.

I’m glad because I believe in you, Stephanie and Jordan.
I believe that each of you is a good person of fine intent
  And that each of you has done good things so far in life,
  And that down the line this will only increase.
I also believe in the two of you,
  And in what you are capable of making and doing and being together.
Christians who come together through the rite Christian marriage
  Are a sign to the world of how much God loves all of creation.
I hope you’re feeling ready today to become a symbol and a sacrament
  That show that love to the world.

And I hope, too, that in the gospel reading you picked up on this language of abiding.
Please just listen again closely to the logic:
  Jesus is saying that if you live in him you live in love,
  Just as he has always lived in the Father’s love by the way he’s lived his life.
It’s something a bit more than just “live,” though, isn’t it.
To abide means to dwell some place, to make your home, to mark out your bounds.
In effect, it means this: you sell your luggage and buy a plow. You homestead.
You live in love.

Romantic love, or eros, is just one kind of love the Bible talks about.
There are other kinds, just as valid: charity, friendship, affection.
If you abide in any kind of love in a healthy way,
  It eventually prepares you for every kind of love.
It heightens your awareness that in the end, you really just live in one kind of love,
  Which is simply the love of God.
You live and move and walk and breathe in a kind of love that’s more real
  Than anything else you can name.
You homestead in it; you’re never not in it.
You can’t see it, but you can certainly depend upon it.
It becomes the truest thing you know.
It’s the reason everything exists.

Today you publicly declare that you want that. That you’re hungry for that.
The church declares its consent with that judgment.
So together we come before God’s altar seeking his blessing.
It’s that beautiful and that simple, and I say that if we really are ready for it,
  Then we should make it happen with no further delay. Ready?

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