Wedding Fundamentals: An Unspoken Homily

Wedding Fundamentals: An Unspoken Homily

Wedding Fundamentals, Practicing Love.

(An Unspoken Wedding Homily)

Greetings to all you lovers out there. As you know, there are many opportunities to learn love… Family life growing up; school; work; church. But the best way to learn love is through marriage.

I played a lot of basketball growing up, and I experienced countless practice sessions learning the fundamentals of ball skills and effective team play. We would practice the fundamentals of the game every day, hopefully growing in our skill level as we continued to practice faithfully.

In many ways, marriage is like that, daily practice sessions, learning the fundamentals of love. A married couple start practicing every day as soon as they climb out of bed every morning. Instead of learning how to dribble and shoot, they are learning patience and forgiveness. Instead of jump shots and layups, they are developing the ability to show kindness and self-control. Instead of jumping and sprinting, they are learning how to give and receive love, reflecting God’s love with each other.

Each married couple soon discover that love is tangible, not abstract, that true love is practiced, not studied.

During practices, coaches would sometimes show videos of the fundamentals to show how it’s done. They would show Larry Bird’s jump shot or Magic Johnson’s passing, or Charles Barkley’s rebounding. The coaches would show the videos to demonstrate to the players what good play looks like, how it’s to be imitated and practiced till it’s second nature.

One of mankind’s best coaches, St. Paul, liked to reveal how love is done, how it is to be practiced until it’s second nature. It’s like he showed us videos of the fundamentals of love. Imagine in each video that the players being taught are husband and wife, showing them how to practice and learn the fundamentals of relationship, of love. Coach Paul of Tarsus loved to reveal to us all what love looks like, and what better practice session can there be than a committed marriage between faithful husband and wife? I’d like to show you one of Coach Paul’s videos.

I think there are 3 great love videos in the New Testament: Colossians 3 (about the virtue of love), 1 Corinthians 13 (bout the supremacy of love), and Romans 12 (about the humility of love). but I want to show you the classic one everybody has seen at some point.  The words to this video, though, may be a little unexpected, because I am weaving together my thoughts as well as various paraphrases and translations. Listen carefully and see what love looks like, see how important love is, and see how love is to be practiced. You’ll see that if you practice love very day in your marriage, it gets transferred to loves’ muscle memory and becomes second nature.

And now the practice video from 1 Corinthians 13: Even if I could speak every language, as well as the language of angels of heaven, and was a golden-tongued orator able to sway a huge crowd, if I didn’t speak with love, my words would be hollow, reduced to the significance of a squeaky porch door or a clangy dishwasher.

 Even if I was a spiritual giant and important church leader, with a profound understanding of all kinds of God’s hidden secrets, or if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, or had the kind of faith that could move mountains, were I unable to love, I would be a waste of space, a fruitless vine, a spiritual failure.

Even if I published a best-selling book on how to have a successful marriage, and won the NC Spouse of the Year award, and gave marital advice to all those troubled marriages, were I not able to truly and intimately love my spouse, I would be a waste of PR, a purveyor of drivel, a producer of blank books.

Even if I ambitiously raced to the top of my profession, was admired by the world, and the owner of all the creaturely comforts, full of power, wealth and influence, were my home not full of love, I would be worth less than nothing, bankrupt, unfulfilled and unsuccessful.

(continuing) Love is patient under stress, gentle and consistently kind. Love refuses to be jealous or envious. Love does not brag or strut, inflate its own importance, or seek its own advantage. Love is never rude, and does not traffic in shame and disrespect. Love is not easily irritated or overly sensitive. Love is not quick to take offense, or keep score, or store up grievances. Love is always ready to make allowances. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and the truth, and finds no delight in what is clearly wrong. Love is a place of shelter, not exposure, for it always believes in the other person. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love remains loyal to the end. So let love be the beautiful prize for which you run every day.

Hopefully this verbal video has left all of us, including you,  ——- and  ——-, with a clear impression of what love looks like and how it is to be practiced. Coach Paul in fact gives us a clear picture of how God loves each of us… God our chief Lover, the original Lover. For the truth is, we cannot love like this on our own steam. It’s impossible for us to consistently practice the fundamentals of love through sheer will power or good intentions. God has shown His love for us first, and His love then empowers us to love each other. God has first loved us, Jesus has shown us what to practice and imitate, and His love and example enables us to love each other.

May you truly love each other as God loves us, practicing love daily, till it is second nature in your life together.  Amen.