The Reverend Charles Royden
I want to start this sermon by saying what a pleasure it is to be asked to celebrate the marriage and share in this your special day.
I would like to take just a few moments to invite you to think about the service which we are engaged in today and to reflect on what Christians marriage is all about.
There are two movies which I think give some real insight into Christians
The first is Fiddler on the Roof.
The Russian Jewish couple Tevya and Golda are about to see their daughters marry. Not in a traditional arranged Jewish marriage, but they were going to marry for love! Tevya is confused by the new ways and he asks his wife Golda if she loves him. Her reply is helpful, she says
“Do I love him? For twenty five years I lived with him, fought with him, starved with him, twenty-five years my bed is his, If that’s not love, what is?”
Golda is saying that she has shown her love in her commitment and actions over 25 years.
Ok with the next film, let's see if you can guess from the quotation which film it is, it is also a book. This is my very favourite quotation when thinking about marriage, apart from Biblical ones that is!.
‘When you fall in love it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then it subsides and when it subsides you have to make a decision, you have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part, because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining he is kissing every part of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. This is just ‘being in love,’ which any of us can convince ourselves we are in. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away. It doesn’t sound very exciting does it? But it is.'
Who can guess?
These are the words of Dr. Lannis from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
He is trying to help his daughter to see that marriage is a real act of will, a commitment which transcends the usual talk of love which we read about in magazines and hear in songs.
In our marriage service today our happy couple have not promised to feel anything for each other. They have promised love and love is about what we do, how we behave. Read 1 Corithinians Chapter 13 and it tells us what love is. It says that love is patient, kind, does not keep a record of wrongs etc. Love is about our behaviour.
It is also interesting that when our happy couple were asked this morning
about their ability to love in face of lack of health and wealth can you
remember what they said?
They said ‘I will’
In so doing they expressed a future commitment. That commitment is obviously irrespective of feelings, because they do not know how they are going to feel. They say ‘I do’ when they are asked if they want to marry. But they say ‘I will’ about their future life. They will love irrespective of whether they end up poor and in ill health. They will love each other in spite of who else comes along, because love is not emotional or hormonal, it is a commitment of the will so strong that two people become as one.
This is Christian love and this is the foundation of Christian marriage. Nobody says it is going to be easy, so now we are going to turn to our prayers.