Friday, August 10, 2012

Choose Love

The Marriage of Blair Casey and Josie Fenton

Saint Faith’s Anglican Church
11 August 2012

Texts:  Colossians 3.12-17 and Matthew 5.1-10

         I have long harboured a wish to be a contestant on Jeopardy.  Ever since I was in university I have enjoyed the challenge of providing the right questions and have shaken my head when educated people cannot seem to figure out the most obvious responses.

         I have even come up with my own category:  “Popular Misquotations”.  For example, it is not “Money is the root of all evil,” but “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  Another is one I happened across yesterday as I was doing my lunch-time crossword.  The cue was “Exchanged a wedding vow.”  I can hear the players press their buzzers and say with confidence, “What is ‘I do’, Alex.”  Burrrp!  “No,” Alex says, “What is ‘I will’.”

         The difference between ‘I do’ and ‘I will’ is more than mere semantics.  It is the difference between a moment and a life-time, the difference between an immediate feeling and a conscious decision with unimaginable future consequences.

         It is the difference implicit in the two readings from the New Testament that were chosen for today’s celebration.  When the writer of Colossians says, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony,” he is not speaking about the love that lovers have for each other or the love that family members share or the love that friends have, but self-giving and self-sacrificing love, a love that consciously chooses to put the other before self.  When Jesus describes those who are ‘blessed’, he is speaking about those who choose to remain faithful to God even in the most difficult of circumstances.

         Blair and Josie, this is a special day in your relationship with one another, with your families and your friends.  It is right that we should celebrate it with flowers and music, food and dancing, carefully-chosen clothes and formal rites.  No one can doubt how you feel about each other in this moment.  But what is far more important is how you, in the years ahead, bring to completeness what you begin today.  It has never been simply a question of whether you do love one another.  It has always been a question of how you will love one another.

         Love that is mature and life-giving is not just an emotion; it is a commitment made by one’s heart, soul and mind acting in harmony.  It is a choice we make every day; some days many times just in one day we face the decision of how best to love and cherish one another so that we can become truly ourselves as God has made each one of us to be.

  • It is easy to love ‘for better’ but a harder choice to love ‘for worse’.
  • It is easy to love ‘for richer’ but a harder choice to love ‘for poorer’.
  • It is easy to love ‘in health’ but a harder choice to love ‘in sickness’.

         The pattern of life you are choosing to enter today is not just a private matter between the two of you.  It is a manner of life that touches all of us.  You will need the support of others, whether that support takes the form of a friend who listens carefully or the form of the wisdom of those who have also chosen this manner of life.  I remember a very dark time, early in my marriage, when I was sustained by the knowledge that Paula and I were not alone but were surrounded and upheld by friends and family.

         Blair and Josie, treasure this day.  May you find the promises you make this day life-giving.  May the choice to love come quickly to your hearts and minds and souls.  May no clouds ever darken your days and may joy surround you like the light of the sun.  May you always be upheld by the strength of family and friends.  Amen.

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