Wedding Hope – An Unspoken Homily

Wedding Hope – An Unspoken Homily

Wedding Hope – An Unspoken Homily.

The great love chapter in Scripture, 1 Corinthians 13, ends with the mentioning of the three great virtues in life: Faith, Hope and Love. Those are the Big Three. And the one that always gets lost in the shuffle is the one in the middle: Hope. It is the forgotten virtue, maybe because the two virtues flanking it on either side are so monumental. Hope is often seen as the little virtue in the middle between those two giants, Faith and Love. But we must do our best to remember hope. It is important we do it justice. For if there is one quality that will propel you forward in your marriage, —- and —-, it is hope. It is what will enable you to keep growing and moving into the future together. Hope is your faith in the future under God. It gives you somethings substantial to look forward to. Hope is when you eagerly anticipate that your life has purpose together, that your life has meaning that extends beyond today.

It is crucial in your home to keep your faith alive, and of course to keep your love alive. But I’m wondering if that will even be possible if you don’t keep your hope alive.

You might be asking yourself… Does hope have any practical use? Isn’t hope kind of a boring topic to bring up here at a wedding, all about pie in the sky with no point to it in daily life? But aren’t you both sitting here today with a ton of expectations, many hopes and dreams… a happy home, a loving family, a resilient relationship, successful careers, a thriving Christian faith. And all of that is worthy and good, but hope is what will make that happen. Hope is essential in your marriage, because hope is three things according to Scripture. Hope is your survival skill because hope is a helmet, hope is an anchor, and hope is a springboard. Let’s take just a minute to break that down.

First of all, Hope is a helmet (1 Thess. 5:8).  Hope protects your mind. Hope keeps you from the ravages of despair. Hope keeps you healthy mentally and emotionally. When you put on a living hope as a protective covering over your mind, you think more clearly, more purposefully, more faithfully. One of the wonderful mysteries that takes place today is that from today two become as one. You two, — and —, become as one. Whatever affects one, affects the other. You are stand-ins for each other. You grow together as two vines do, so that it’s hard to distinguish between the two because you are as one. Somehow you keep your individuality, but you now have a dual identity. It’s a mystery, but it’s true, you develop together as one heart and mind. If each of you is hopeful for the other, if you each put on hope like a helmet, your fused oneness will eagerly anticipate the future, you will expect good in your marriage and your home. You two will collectively expect good things, and you will be of sound mind, you will have emotional stability together. You will live and work to that end and in that spirit. You will see that if circumstances invite you to despair, if you work on being hopeful together, you will survive. You will conquer that type of hopelessness that affects so many. In fact, Proverbs 13:13 says that deferred hope makes the heart sick. That’s right, you will be sick at heart, you will take a downward plunge, if you abandon hope. If hope is delayed, you will be heart sick, you will become imprisoned by despair. So hope is a helmet, protecting your mind. Put it on together.

Secondly, hope is an anchor (Heb. 6:19). A hopeful view of the future will tie you each in your marriage to eternity with God. Your hope is an anchor for the soul. This anchor is firm and secure. This is interesting, because it’s upside down. This isn’t an anchor that goes down from above to the depths. No, hope is an anchor that is lodged up above in heaven, and is tied to you here below. This anchor is actually secured in heaven, and so it keeps you connected to heavenly matters, to eternal virtues, to the everlasting person of Christ. The anchor up there keeps you tied to the will of God down here. In Col 1:27 Paul talks about God’s salvation as “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Hope will connect you two to an anchor in glory, keep you tethered to that which will not diminish and fall apart here on earth. Keep your hope alive, so you are anchored to life eternal. So hope is a helmet, and hope is an anchor.

Finally, Hope is a springboard (Col 1:5). Once again, Scripture talks about hope. Paul says that love springs from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven. Hope is a springboard for love. When you embrace the future with hope, you are able to embrace the present with love. Love jumps out of hope, and not just love for each other, but also love for your neighbor, love for God. If you can imagine a diving board at the swimming pool. Imagine love right now, today, approaching that board. A little timid, a little unsure of what is to come. And imagine that love having the courage to walk out on the diving board of hope, and jumping into the water with confidence and assurance. Hope is that diving board for love. Confidence in the future because of God’s goodness produces love, eagerly and joyfully anticipating good things around each corner. If you want to keep your love alive, then keep your hope alive. Hope is like a resurrection of the heart of love. Hope is a springboard.

So there you have it… Hope is a helmet to protect your mind and your thinking; hope is an anchor to keep you connected to eternal life; hope is a springboard for love. Keeping hope in your marriage is crucial. Hope is the most profound and beautiful thing you can give to each other in your married life.

But all this begs the question… What is your hope based on? What allows you to hope in the first place? What is the basis of your hope? Is there a way to keep your hope from becoming merely wishful thinking or an empty optimism?

Well, there is only one reason you can hope realistically, one solid thing to base your hope on, and that is the mercy of God.

Let’s look at this final point together for just a minute. How did God choose to describe Himself when asked His name by Moses in Exodus 34? What did God choose to reveal about Himself? He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and faithfulness, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” And that’s why rabbinic tradition says that mercy rather than justice is regarded as the outstanding attribute of God (A.J. Heschel). Indeed, Jesus, the human form of this same God, comes to us “full of grace and truth.” (John 1).

If you remember anything about this little talk we’ve had here, — and —, remember this: When you can trust God for the future, you can hope with confidence. When you can trust the character of God, you can hope with joy. When you know a merciful God has your back, you are free to love each other through all the ups and downs of life. In fact, sometimes I wonder if there is anything else I can bank on in life. I wonder if there is anything more trustworthy than God’s love. I believe that the one sure foundation for your new home together would be this beautiful statement of faith in Lam. 3:22-24: “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed. For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is all I have, therefore I will hope in Him.”

Our hope rests on God’s character, the only truly solid thing in the universe. God being who He is, I also wonder if there is anything that pleases God more than to trust in His love. With God holding the future, knowing His character that is so trustworthy, we are free to hope to our heart’s content.

So here you are, — and —, with your hopes and dreams, starting a new life together. Based on God’s love for you, is there one big hope you can take home with you today? I believe there is, and it’s found in Jer. 29:11. Here is your hope on this momentous day. Here is your hopeful vision for your marriage. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. And I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” So there is your hope for today, trusting in God’s love. God sees you here, — and —, and He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future, and plans that include a relationship with Him.

I’d like to leave you with a blessing from Psalm 33. This psalm states that the whole earth is full of God’s unfailing love, and that the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, His mercy. This psalm closes with these monumental words: “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Everything else fails, only His love is unfailing. Only His mercy is left standing. Only His grace is worthy of your trust. Keep your hope alive in Christ, and you will not be disappointed (Ro. 5:3).

So this is my closing blessing for you, — and —, “Lord, may your unfailing love rest upon — and —, even as they put their hope in you.” Amen.

In the Name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.