December 14, 2017

For Drew and Darla

There are no adequate words for a wedding officiant...

Should I just read 1 Corinthians 13? Better yet, maybe I'll riff...

(1) If I write the perfect 'wedding sermon', and speak better than any preacher or angel, but my heart isn't fixed on my nephew and his bride, then they may as well play some crappy Ted talk. (2) If I pick out the most spiritual insights to share and I explain them all brilliantly using scripture, but if it doesn't strike home for my two audience members, then I'm much better off shutting up. (3) If I give up three days scanning bits from famous wedding sermons, and I surrender my ego to God in exchange for a better performance, but if I'm not thinking about what these two are going to face in real life, then all my noble sacrifice does no one any good.

(4) In real life, marriage is a long haul. There's suffering and there's kindness. You find opportunities to be selfish, or jealous, or demanding, and then hopefully you also find those are opportunities to seek God. Think about Jesus. (5) Jesus didn't misbehave. He wasn't self-absorbed. He didn't blow up at people who let him down. He didn't keep a list of grievances. Wives and husbands do these things, but Jesus didn't. (6) Us normal people sometimes get more enthusiastic about what's been going wrong, but Jesus stayed focused on Truth. (6/7) Jesus loved God with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, and all his strength. Somehow, by doing that, (7) Jesus could always find strength to press on, to believe, to hope, and to stand firm.

(8a) Jesus never failed to love God. Jesus never failed to love other people.

(8b) Drew and Darla, you are both going to fail. A lot. Like, you have no idea.

(8a-b) I want you to remind each other that God's Love never fails. You won't always know what to do next. You won't always know what to say to each other. Sometimes you won't even know what's going on at some particular moment. (9) You'll probably know a little, and you'll probably say a lot. (10) But whatever you do and whatever you say to each other, however imperfectly you love each other, I want you to remember that Perfect Love is always already here. Whenever you remember God, the imperfections you see in each other are going to pass away.

(11) When you guys were kids, it was all toys, cake, and ice cream. It was all "love me, love me" and "I want a cookie." Now that you guys are adults... as I'm quite sure that you've learned... You don't always get to be selfish. (12) But what you do get to do, now that you're getting married, is you get to walk in the dark. You get to reach into mystery. You get to discover what life together is like, and you get to be surprised by all the ways you'll grow and change together, as God continues to do the work - in you - that only God can really do.

Eventually, you will be transformed. Someday, you will know everything.

And you'll look at young couples and lauuugh...

(13) But for now, Drew and Darla... Love each other. Hope for the best. Believe that God abides with you. Prepare to spend many years of wonderful, glorious failure together, as you learn new levels of patient loving kindness.

But above all, remember: the best part of all this is God.


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