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Wedding Paul & Georgina Sept 2008

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Wedding Paul & Georgina (26th Sept 2008 / 1 Cor 12:31b-13:13)

A few weeks ago a heard this story of something that happened to a young family.

This young couple just had their first child....and they were planning to go on holidays....

On the morning of their departure.....the baby was put in the car seat....and put on the kitchen table....

And of course there was so much stuff to pack....it is amazing how much stuff you need to take with you with young children.....and of course many other things to think off.....

So this couple were packing the car....taking care of things in the house.....and drove off for their holidays.....

It took them a few minutes on the road to realize that they had forgotten one thing......you guessed it......the baby!!

Weddings.....and wedding preparations can be a bit like that!!......there is so much stuff going on....much of it very good :-)......that sometimes what really matters....is the love between 2 people.....it's that simple....

The same thing can happen in married life: there is always the risk that other things take over.....work.....hobbies....children.....family commitments etc etc.....and we risk forgetting to pay attention to how it all started.....and what keeps is all going.....the love between 2 people.....It is a bit like leaving the baby on the kitchen table.....while we drive off.....

I am sure.....that Paul and Georgine do not want to make that mistake......love clearly at the heart of their relationship.

Our Bible reading....chosen by them... makes clear that "without love we gain nothing".....that "without love we ARE nothing"....

And what a perfect description of love !!.....1 Cor 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs...... It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

That is true love.....And how wonderful when we see that sort of love in marriage....

1 Cor 13 is a favourite LOVE passage for many.....but ACTUALLY...the WHOLE Bible can be described as God's LOVE letter to humanity....from the first page to the very last...

On page 1 we read about God's great act of love in CREATION....and at its climax God creates a man and a woman.....in His image....Man and woman are complementary....together they show us something of what God is like....

And one chapter later we read about marriage.....Marriage is God's idea....

When God finished his work of love ...."God saw all that he had made, and it was very good"

Unfortunately....the reality can be all too different....

Human love....has its ups and downs....we all might have experienced glowing pinacles of love....but there can also be great disappointments.....human love....is IM-perfect....

That's why I want to talk about 3 secrets to a happy marriage....

Secret #1 is to have our love tested...Paul & Georgina's love has been tested over many years!!.......and here they are to make a life-long commitment to eachother....

They do not take this decision lightly.....this day has been in the make for YEARS!

So it is good to have love tested.....

Secret #2 of a happy marriage is to be realistic about ourselves....to know from ourselves that we are NOT perfect.....and also recognize that in others...

The Bible is so honest about this as well....

The apostle Paul did not write these words to perfect saints....but to a church that was known for its fights....its schisms and its failings.....

I mentioned God's work of love in Creation....but.....it did not take long for that perfect work to be spoiled.....because people turned their backs on God...

And THAT explains our broken world....

So Secret 1: Have your love tested.....Secret 2: Be realistic about ourselves...and about others....and Secret #3 is have God involved in our marriage....

We might not be perfect....but things can get better...WE can get better....with God's help.....

God showed his PERFECT love in the life and death of His son Jesus Christ....and all those who ask Jesus to come into their lives.....will experience God's love for themselves....through God's Holy Spirit.....

And through God's Holy Spirit....that which is broken inside us.....our selfishness....our unkindness....can be healed......and over time......human love can be shaped....by God's love....and be made perfect.....This is a long term project, to be finished in heaven....

The more we experience Divine love...the more we are washed over by the Holy Spirit.... the more our love...becomes better.....more Christ like.....

Love that is patient, love that is kind. Love that does not envy,...... Love that is not proud..... not rude,.... not self-seeking... not easily angered....love that forgives... That sort of Love never fails.

Such God shaped love...changes your lives from the inside out....and it will seep outwards....it will shine ....and you can become a blessing to others....And we pray that Paul & Georgina can be such a blessing for eachother....and for their wider circle....

That's why it is wonderful that they make these promises to each other in the presence of God....

Paul & Georgina....It has been such a joy to meet with you....to hear your story.....and to be here today.....part of a great celebration....

I hope that this day ....despite all its busy-ness....will offer a glimpse of heaven....

What I mean is that heaven is compared to a wedding party....where there is a great abundance of joy.

Our lives here on earth....and our married life....should be a preparation for that eternal wedding banquet.....

Living your lives together....in the midst of an imperfect world....with imperfect people.....living a live of love.

I hope you will have a wonderful day together with family and friends.....in the Hilton.....and I guess a ward must be closed in Southmead because of all of Georgina's colleagues who will be there tonight!!

My prayer for the two of you is that you will allow God to be part of your marriage.....that God may bless you marriage....and that he may be a daily presence in your lives.....to help you further  grow in love for Him...and for eachother....Such love has a wonderful future!!!....such love cannot fail.

As Paul wrote almost 2000 years ago....."And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love"....

AMEN

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