The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
Colossians 3: 12-17
In You Richly
Wedding Sermon for Amy Mehlhaff and Merle Ligocki
Saturday of Pentecost XVII, 25 September 2010
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. That is a better word than all of the advice on life, love, and marriage in the whole world. It reflects lives lived in the Lord's House Sunday by Sunday as more than God's ideal, but the normal thing for a Christian family to do on the Lord's Day: receive the Lord's gifts. His Word is what guides you in the vocations you already have from working at the Hospital, to testing water, and helping at the family ranch, and will steer you as you grow into new vocations like setting up a new household, learning what it means to be a wife or husband, and, if the Lord wills, what it means to be a mother or father.
Little did I know when I gave you the homework assignment to choose a text for your wedding day that you would both come up with a recommendation to present to the other. And out of the entire Bible, you both independently chose the same text: Colossians 3: 12-17!
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. This is not worldly wisdom that would advise you to look out for yourself first. Compassion and kindness focus on the other. While not originally intended only for husbands and wives, this text is ideal two Christian best friends, especially on their wedding day to each other. Meekness and patience are more internal, dealing with motivation and how you carry yourself as you are compassionate and kind. No one loves to wait. Few are willing to consider others before themselves. In marriage, these qualities shine. Your mutual choice of this text to guide your life together says that you are willing to bear with one another in good times and bad. You have also indicated your desire to live as a Christian man and woman in holy love, forgiving each other as the Lord has already forgiven you. There is no higher wisdom for preserving any relationship than confession and forgiveness. Marriage cannot survive without husband and wife forgiving each other. This is a reflection of your love for one another, but more importantly the love of God in Christ to each of you first. Like His love for you, He forgives you first.
And above all these put on 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 one body. And be thankful. The love of Christ binds everything together perfectly. His is the only perfect love. Your love for one another is a reflection of His love to one another. Harmony is a great way to talk about a life of love together. It confesses the one flesh union of husband and wife, yet also leaves room for your individual uniqueness, those quirks that endeared you to each other. Two notes sung together make a very basic chord, a harmony. When two Christians sing notes that complement the eternal melody of the Lord Christ, it creates a very different "chord" of three strands that is not easily broken.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts 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. You will depart this nave and sanctuary with songs in your heart, songs of celebration for how the Lord has richly blessed you both and how He is the foundation of your Christian lives and your holy matrimony. And the rhythm of Sunday morning will continue too, as the Word of Christ dwells in you richly, as you receive His gifts, and as you respond with song, thankfulness and praise, giving thanks to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.