Fight For Each Other

This time last week I had just joined these two in marriage!

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It is such an honor to preside over weddings – and such a privilege when they are my friends!  Bruce and Brian grew up together and his brother and I went to college together so I met him when he was in high school.  I have been SO excited for this wedding ever since Brian called back in December and asked me if I would preside.

Here is the homily that I preached during the service.  I have used pieces of it before, but I really liked how it came together.  Every time I preach at weddings I actually feel like I am affirming my own marriage vows.

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Speaking of … this was the first wedding that we have been to where we haven’t gotten kicked off the dance floor with the “under-5-years-of-marriage-couples”!  Love him.

I have been working like a maniac all week and I am back behind the pulpit tomorrow!  Tomorrow is our last 9 am summer worship – next weekend is Rally Day.  We move worship back to 10 am, the choir is back and Church School starts up for the year.  Transitions are always tough, but I cannot wait to see what the fall season brings!

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Colossians 3:12-17
Rev. Sarah Weaver

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Fight For Each Other

The scripture that we just heard comes from the Book of Colossians, a letter written by the apostle Paul to a Gentile church in Asia Minor. The Colossian people were dealing with a controversy that had developed stemming from a debate about Christ. The question at hand was this: Did Christ’s life, death and resurrection liberate believers and give them direct access or God or did believers still need to rely on religious authorities, rituals and traditions in order to have access to God?

So why are we reading this at a wedding? This debate was about Christ, not about marriage. Paul’s response – the passage we heard – pointed to his own views on Christ and on the growing Christian church, not on weddings and marriages.

But as much as this debate was about Christ, at the core of the dispute was a realistic picture of human beings just trying to learn how to live with one another. It touches on the innate humanness of who we are – individual people trying to live with one another despite the differences that sometimes threaten to divide us.

This passage is perfect to read at a wedding, because it talks about love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience – all of the beautiful and magnificent parts of marriage.

But it also reminds us of the reason that we need those things. It gently exposes the reality that life may not always be easy. Paul said that being in community comes with challenges. Well, life – and marriage – comes with challenges. Relationships are not always easy. There will be grievances, as the scripture says, along the way; there will be disagreements, frustrations and hard times.

But we will get through those times, Paul assures us. You will get through those times. Your faith will strengthen you and strengthen your relationship. God’s grace will bind you together in love.

“Bear with one other,” Paul says. In other words, cling on to one another in the difficult times. Know that forgiveness will come in time; know that the cloaks of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are not ones that you have to find, but ones that you already wear, ones that God has already draped you with. Love is at the center of who you are – and love is the stronghold that will hold you together over time. “Above all,” Paul firmly reminds us, “clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

This can be easier said than done. Because in the heat of an argument or a financial struggle or a challenging ailment, sometimes it is easier to put up barriers that protect us rather than to clothe ourselves in a love that leaves us vulnerable.

But Paul then says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.”

Jeniece and Brian – let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. When you are angry, seek to be kind. When you are sad, seek comfort from one another. When you are joyful, share your joy together. Pray together. Worship, serve and learn together. Laugh with each other – and at each other. Do not be afraid to fight with each other – but more than that, always fight for each other. These are the things that will root your marriage in the foundation of faith. These are the things that will set your marriage apart from others. You were called to one another and today you are affirming that call. Be thankful for the journeys that have brought you each here today – and with great anticipation and hope, be thankful for the journey that you will now take together.

As you say your vows today, words that were once simply written on paper will take on a new meaning. As the words leave your lips, touch the ears of those who are here to witness and extend out into the world, may your dreams be uncovered, may your visions be extended and may your lives be strengthened as you are united as one.

And may you heed the command of Christ – to love one another.

Thanks be to God, our creator, redeemer and sustainer, who gives us the power and strength to allow hope, peace, joy and love to prevail – today and every day of our lives.

Thanks be to God!
Amen.

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