Summary: A unique sermon on marriage using the wedding ceremony to talk about God’s kind of love in marriage. Well recieved.
(This was a ceremony to celebrate marriage. The sanctuary was decorated as for a wedding, with a trellis at the foyer, youth escorting people to their seats, and a set of candelabras on stage. We opened the sermon with Wedding March being played. As the music was played, two of our young men lit the candles. When they were finished lighting the candles, the pianist played the part of the march where the bride would enter).
We are gathered today in the presence of God to celebrate marriage.
Who is it that gives - those who desire to wed - to be married each other? Is it not God, our Father?
READ: I Corinthians 13:1-8a
OPEN: Some of the most astute observers of what love is like - are children: One child for example said that "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
In our society love is often about - how each other smells, how each other looks, how each other kisses, how we “feel” about each other.
And that’s OK. Feelings are important in love. One child said: "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Why would that be true? Because of the way those who love each other “feel” about each other.
ILLUS: Andreas Bartels, a research fellow at University College London used an MRI to examine 11 women and 6 men who said they were truly in love. When the subjects were shown photographs of their sweethearts, different areas of the brain scan lit up - indicating higher blood flow. These "love spots" were near, but not the same as, sections that become active when someone is feeling simple lust. Looking at pictures of their loved ones also reduced activity in 3 larger areas known to be active when people are upset or depressed.
Feeling love is OK – in fact God has apparently “hard wired” us to “feel” love.
And that “feeling” of love is rarely more prominent than it in a wedding ceremony where a young couple exchanges their vows of love. That emotion of love is part of what has drawn them to that commitment in their lives.
II. What is interesting is that in I Corinthians 13, there is almost no discussion of love as emotion.
Look at it again: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)
These aren’t feelings, these are actions, behaviors. This is what love “looks like.”
Like I said, children understand love. Perhaps that’s because they don’t think in abstract ways. They understand what they can see, and touch and hear.
· One child said: "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
· Another child observed: "Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."