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."
· And still another child told of “When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over & paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love."
Love, at its best is far more than emotion. It’s action. It’s something you do.
These words of I Corinthians aren’t deep theological concepts:
Love is patient (when she doesn’t clean house, or when he leaves clothes on floor).
Love is kind (when they are tired or irritable).
It doesn’t rejoice in evil but rejoices in truth(this is the type of person who shields their family from false things of the world doesn’t allow those type of influences in front door – or the back door)
Love always protects each other.
It always trusts each other.
It always hopes the best for each other.
It always perseveres with each other.
LOVE NEVER FAILS. It never gives up, it never throws in the towel.
These are not flowery emotions, this is love you can see.
When you stand before God and exchange your vows – this is the type of love God wants you to show. This is what your vows are all about.
III. The love of God is so much greater than the love the world models for us:
In fact, the love of this world could best be described as desire, or lust