The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love and Christ
Wedding Sermon for William David Ford and April Robin Shaw
Saturday of Pentecost IV, 26 June 2010
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
April and William, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is text you chose together for your wedding day sermon. In our premarital sessions together we studied many Scripture texts about love and marriage. We got to the heart of the matter, clearing up personal or cultural misunderstandings and misuses of them. So too this afternoon, I want to share with your loved ones what 1 Corinthians 13 truly says.
Love is patient and kind. Are we? Love does not envy or boast. Do we? Love is not arrogant or rude. We can be. Love does not insist on its own way. We often do. Love is not irritable or resentful. Frequently we are. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. We often defend our wrongs and prefer a pretty lie over an ugly truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. We’re not so perseverant, trusting, or hopeful. Love never ends. Yet, human love struggles at times.
Heard the way I just read it—with all of those annoying, yet true comments—one hears law, condemnation, past, present, and future failure, and the consequences of our sin. All those things are true. And even though they are unpleasant to hear, they prepare us for an even deeper, Gospel-centered and Christ-focused proper understanding of this famous text on love.
Love is patient and kind and Jesus truly was. Love does not envy or boast and Jesus never did. Love is not arrogant or rude and Jesus wasn’t either. Love does not insist on its own way. Jesus followed and taught His Father’s way. Love is not irritable or resentful. Jesus endured mocking and abuse. Jesus did not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never ends. Since Scripture teaches us that God is love and that Jesus is God, substituting Jesus’ Name for Love in this text gives it the deeper, comforting meaning we have been hoping for. God’s love in Christ is reconciliation, a new beginning, forgiveness, and peace.
While not originally intended only for Christian marriage, 1 Corinthians 13 certainly is a wonderful guide for two Christians joined as husband and wife. Without Christ at the heart of your home, this text will revert to the previous law-dominated meaning. And so we apply it for your real life together.
Love is patient and kind. You say “I will” today to promise love as an action beyond a mere emotion. It’s hard to be patient when the railroad changes your spouse’s schedule at the last minute. Love is eager to repent and eager to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.
Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It is a challenge to kindly explain why one of your spouse’s cherished possessions isn’t the most appropriate item to find in the living room of your household together.
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love is the first to admit wrong. Isn’t this section one of the hardest? Patiently, kindly, and clearly try to persuade your beloved of your proposed course of action, but don’t insist. There may be times when the loving thing is to yield when truth is not at stake.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Life doesn’t always work out the way we expect. We endure many things that we cannot understand. Often, hardship leads to great things. We sometimes can clearly see in the rearview mirror of life how we were wrong. It never hurts to admit that to those we have hurt in the past and ask for their forgiveness.
Love never ends. Today you pledge in holy love until life’s end. That’s not a small promise. It is, in many ways, a fresh start. God’s Word and a congregation of fellow Christians like this one is the support you need to strengthen and preserve you in the true faith until life everlasting. Here you will hear God’s Word and receive gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. God wants you to be happy, yes, but content and joyful in Him. “Love never ends” is a final reminder of the frailty of our own love and the eternal love of the Father who gave His only Son to death on the cross. The Father accepted the Son’s sacrifice in your place and proved it by physically raising Jesus from the dead. God the Holy Spirit dwells with us now calling, gathering, making us holy, and keeping us together in Christ through the Word until He returns on the Last Day or calls us home.
We love because He first loved us. God bless you both as you reflect God’s love to one another. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.