Summary: Wedding sermon talking about the commitment that love is with a Shakepearean allusion.
Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.
These lines spoken by Romeo in Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet, give us a very shallow view of love. Love, to Romeo, is really only infatuation. That’s how the world sees it. The world thinks that love is merely an emotion. Love for one another is based on feelings. When they are strong, our relationship flourishes but when they wane it disintegrates. When you realize that your Prince Charming is really a frog or tat your Sleeping Beauty’s beauty is sleeping we want to get out. We see it all the time in pop culture. The one-night stands in films, the people hopping in and out of bed on soap operas and the flirtations and flings of sit coms not to mention what pop music has to say about so-called love. That’s how we all are by nature. We would like to live fast and free.
Tom and Mary, you have probably already experienced differences, difficulties, and disagreements in your relationship. When we experience these things, by nature we want to give up, give in and sell the farm. When feelings of anger, astonishment, maybe even apathy arise, that’s when real love kicks in. Love doesn’t leave, true love stays. Many people these days are calling it commitment or promise-keeping. And that’s what the text read is speaking of.
This text, amazingly, was not written for weddings. The apostle John was writing to combat false teaching that had crept into the church. These false teachers denied that Jesus had actually come in the flesh. So John demonstrates that false teachers are those who not only deny Jesus’ humanity but also do not truly love because they are not born from God. But those that are born of God will be different. Love will be manifested in their relationships.
It is true that a relationship, any relationship, to be successful and fulfilling needs commitment. Love is a commitment – God’s commitment to you. He promised you that He would send His Son into the world to take the punishment that you deserved for your lack of love. He promised you that Jesus would pay the price for your shallow view of love by dying on the cross for you. He promised you that through His glorious resurrection on Easter you would no longer have to fear the guilt or eternal consequences of your lack of commitment. And He fulfilled those promises to you through the blessed work of Jesus. Now that’s love. He also created in you in your baptisms a faith to trust in His redemptive work. He also nurtured that faith through His Word as you were cared for in God’s house and by your parents at home and through Jesus’ very body and blood given to you in the Lord’s Supper.
Now, some of you may be asking yourselves, “Why is he talking about Jesus in a wedding sermon?” As far as I’m concerned, if I were to talk about love without talking about Jesus I would be remiss. In fact, I would not be speaking on the subject at all. Some of you may have never set foot in a church before today or haven’t since attending your last wedding or funeral. I have a special message just for you today. I praying that you’ll leave this service today knowing that God loves you very much. He wants you to know how much He loves you. He showed you that He loves you when Jesus died to save you from your sins and rose again to give you new life. He wants wonderful things for you and this is His gift to you. If you feel like God has stirred in your heart today, I would invite you to come and talk to me after this service or at the reception so that we can talk more personally about what God has done for you in Jesus Christ.
Love is a commitment. And that commitment starts with the promise that God made to you and kept. But it doesn’t end there. Its implications go far beyond a tiny hill outside Jerusalem where Jesus died some two thousand years ago. It s implications affect every one of us. It goes to the very heart of who we are. As God kept His commitment to love us through the sacrifice of His Son, so too we are led to love one another. We no longer look to gratify ourselves but we desire to serve others. We look for ways to demonstrate love toward each other in very tangible ways. A touch, a smile, love notes, dates, even compromising with our spouses or others when we have a disagreement.