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You can buy a garage. You can buy a house. You can even buy a house and a garage. But you cannot buy a home. A home is something that exists quite apart from whether you have a house or a garage. A home is not only where you live, but how you live. A home is how you abide. Another word for home is abode, which is derived from the verb abide.
The man and the woman in the Garden of Eden did not have a house or a garage, but they had a home in the sense that they had a relationship based on the providence and grace of God. They were created by God to be flesh and bone of one another. It was only after they had sinned and were driven from the Garden that they actually had a house, but then they faced the challenge of making that house into a home that could survive in spite of their sin.
A home is not so much a place as it is a state of being. A husband and wife cannot create this state of being on their own, try as they might. A home where love abides in the family and the family abides in love is a sheer gift from God. A home where a family shares what this love produces—compassion, kindness, humility, patience, and forgiveness—such a home is based on nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus tells us to "keep" his commandment of love. The Greek word translated "keep" does not mean to obey. It means to hold in high esteem, to trust ultimately, to value above all else. If Jesus were here calling for perfect obedience, we would all be instant failures. What he is calling for, rather, is that we trust his love for us even when we don’t see it or embody it—that a husband and wife cleave to his love even more than they cleave to each other. What he is calling for is not perfection but faith that his love for us is certain and secure. Faith like that is a window through which his love can enter our lives and infuse them with compassion, kindness, humility, patience, and forgiveness.
Groom and Bride, the love of God which called you into being through human birth and holy baptism has abided with you in every way thus far in your journey through life. It has nurtured you through parents and family, through teachers and friends. That love caused you to find each other, and now it has brought you to this your wedding day. No matter where you went or what you did, that love abided with you, and it will continue to abide with you throughout the coming years.
As husband and wife, you can buy a house. You can even buy a house with a garage. But home for you will always be a gift and not a possession. Home for you will always be the love of Jesus Christ which abides in you, no matter where you are.
The Marriage Vows
Vows: Minister: _______ & ________ please state your intent to enter into this union by expressing your vows to one another. ____________, repeat after me: "I promise, _______, before God, our family and friends to commit my love to you;
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