Summary: A short wedding sermon encouraging friends, family and the couple themselves to ’put on’ compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience and to ’let the word of Christ dwell in [them] richly’
Colossians 3: 12 to 17
Although our Bible reading is an extract from a letter written by St. Paul to a church around 55 AD, it is relevant to us today.
To put it into context, Paul has just been reminding the church that the time has come to put to death their old way of life. The time has also come to (Col 3:8), “…stop being angry, hateful, and evil” and Paul says to the church that, “…you must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.”
In Our Bible reading (Col 3:12) Paul is encouraging the people of the church to change, and to now clothe themselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” They are wise words for us! My prayer is that [this] marriage will be full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience.
Last night we had a rehearsal in preparation for this afternoon. Last night we were all dressed quite differently. I was wearing my old jeans; and [the bride] said to me, “I won’t be dressed like this tomorrow!” In fact I think she said it to me not once but twice! And what a difference today! Most of us have had a bath or a shower since yesterday. I’ve had a shave. Our clothing is completely different. No old jeans and no soccer Club sweatshirts!
Now I know that tomorrow we will probably all be back in our usual day to day clothing, but the difference between yesterday and today is a good illustration of what St. Paul is referring to in our Bible reading. He says this to us: take off the old, and put on the new. He says “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” In other words, choose always to wear these attitudes. Choose to be this way with one another. Choose to deal with others as Jesus Christ deals with us!
When we come to Jesus he is compassionate, he is kind, he is humble, he is gentle and he is and patient. That’s how he wants us to be with one another. That’s how he wants all of you to be with one another.
I chose this Bible reading because it is so very appropriate for marriage, but it also very appropriate for wider family life. Paul was writing to a church where there had been difficulties and it was right for Paul to plead with those concerned to forgive whatever grievances they had. (Col 3:13) Paul says: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
(Specifically addressing the couple): my prayer is that you will always be grateful for the depths that Jesus went to in order to demonstrate his love for you.
In two days time we celebrate Christmas! I’m excited and I hope that you are too! We celebrate the wonderful, amazing fact that God took human flesh upon himself and came to live amongst us. Isn’t that fantastic!
The fact of Christmas, Christ-mass; the fact of the birth of Jesus Christ really is very Good News! God lived amongst us. Jesus Christ shows us what God is really like, and he showed us that in his love for us, he was willing to sacrifice himself for us.
St. Paul’s prayer for the church was this: (Col 3:16), “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. I pray that you will let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. You may well ask: how can I do that? Well, I am a fan of the old ‘Love is’ comic strip. On the day of a wedding I often search the internet for the latest quote on the ‘Love is’ website. Yesterday’s quote was ‘Love is …saying a prayer for each other every night.’ The happy couple are kneeling next to their bed. They are wearing some strange looking caps, but they are certainly praying.
(To the couple specifically): if you will both pray for each other, keep talking to one another, and loving one another through all that life brings, then your marriage will be both life-long and life-giving. Amen.