I John 4:7
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text is Chapter four, Verse seven, of the First Letter of St. John, where John writes, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
Some people would say, “You must be crazy to want to make marriage promises to each other in this day and age.” Today, you will promise to give yourselves to one another in “heart, body, and mind.” It doesn’t matter whether you are experiencing “better or worse,” “richer or poorer,” “sickness or health.” Today, you will promise “to love and to cherish,” to give yourselves to one another “for as long as you both shall live.” These sound like crazy vows to make. After all, no couple who has made these promises has perfectly kept them. No wife has perfectly respected and esteemed her husband. No husband has perfectly loved and cherished his bride. No marriage yet has been free from sin and selfishness.
What’s more, both of you has lived through the pain of divorce. What God joined together, man has put asunder. Vows that were meant to last a lifetime were broken. The worse overcame the better. Yet now you want to make these vows again. You want to unite yourselves as one flesh, to be joined together as husband and wife “for as long as you both shall live,” to unite your families as one family. Maybe you really are crazy.
Or maybe you understand sometime about true love. True love begins with Jesus, who loved you with a crazy love, an impossible love, a love that took Him all the way to the cross to forgive our sins. Included in that forgiveness is forgiveness for broken vows. Included in that forgiveness is forgiveness for failed commitment. Included in that forgiveness is forgiveness for all that has gone before. This is true love. What’s more, this is true commitment. Jesus did not stop on the way to the cross and turn away from His bride, the Church. Instead He went to the cross to make her, as Paul writes, “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” This is true commitment. This is true love. And this love, this commitment, this forgiveness, is what brings you here today, to once again exchange vows, to rejoice that God has given you another chance at a lifetime of wedded blessings.
Jeff and Penny—if, indeed, you are crazy to be doing this again, then God, too, must be crazy, for He is the one who has brought you together. But truly, it is not crazy to believe that God has given you this love to share. It is not crazy to believe that your heavenly Father will give you even more love in the years ahead. Make your promises gladly. Commit to each other for a lifetime. Love each other, for "love is of God." In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.