Summary: It is good to start the day in worship declaring the love God has for you and you have for each other.
We gather with you today, _____ and _____, to celebrate a beginning. We start before God and before all these people the celebration of your life together as husband and wife. Today you declare your love for each other before God and all these people. Today you commit all of yourselves to each other for all time.
It is a good beginning. It is good to start your day before God in worship, asking God’s blessing on your life together and praising God for all of the goodness God has given to you and to each of us.
To make this declaration of your love here today is to recognize that it is a very serious declaration indeed. As the reading you chose from Genesis said, "Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh." Today we begin a union made by God, with promises made before God.
1 Corinthians 13 is a good text, also to set before yourselves for this beginning. It sets out clearly what love is and what it is not. It is important to have such a definition clear in your mind as you begin. This blueprint can be a guide for those days down the road when you feel anything but loving.
This is a love which goes at life with a passion. A passionate love which made God willing to pursue us, not willing to give up on us no matter how much we run away.
Such a passionate love is a love given by God which has the strength and courage to work through difficulties. This is not the drippy love of romance novels or television where people abandon each other when the going gets rough or someone flashier comes along.
Such love requires work. A "man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife." It is hard work for a groom or a bride to break old ties and establish a new set of priorities and commitments. Everything else must come second to your marriage. "If I have everything but not love, I have nothing." Such a love requires work especially in those times when you really don’t like each other very much.
Such love comes from God. This love is deep and lasting, one of trust and commitment. It is a love which requires us to be open and vulnerable to our partner, ready to walk into unfamiliar territory together. It is a love of confession and forgiveness, one willing to admit you are wrong and to accept the admission of the other with grace. It is a love which might require you to bite your tongue once in awhile, to consider words and actions first.
So what is this love we set before you today?
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things endures all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.@
Sounds tough, actually impossible, if we try to do it on our own. This love you set before yourselves today as your ideal is a love which can be achieved only as a gift from God. Such a love has its source in God before whom we gather today. A love which can and will shower down on you as you seek to live in God’s love. It is a passionate love, passion for each other, passion for life and a passion for God.
I would leave you with an invitation to allow the love of God to create in your married life such a passion. A passion which give you the courage to create a beautiful and God-filled marriage. A passion which allows you to bring the best of yourself to this marriage, creating a marriage which gives life to you and to those around you.
May your marriage have within it a passion for God, the one who gives us the ability to love and to work at love. Stay close to God because God is the source of this power and love.
You have begun well today. May you continue in your marriage with the words of 1 Corinthians 13 ever before you.
May God bless your beginnings today and may God bless your life together, giving you the passion and courage to continue what you have begun so well today.
Rev. Roger Haugen
June 23, 2001