Things looked bleak in the Thirty Second chapter of Jerimiah. Babylon had laid siege to Jerusalem. Famine, fire, and disease engulfed Jerusalem. King Zedeikiah imprisoned Jeremiah for telling the truth. Inside prison, the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah prompting the prophet to purchase a field. Jeremiah ensured the parchment contract would endure by sealing it inside a clay jar. Jeremiah’s purchase of a field while the city was under siege symbolizes faith, hope, and love. Jeremiah believed that one day trampled vineyards would burst forth with wine. Lewis and Jillian, I could not be prouder of you. Your decision to get married today, speaks of your faith in God, your hope for the future and your Love for each other. May this unprecedented day, make you smile as you remember that Love endures all things.
We were living over in Winchester when Lewis was born. One night, as I held tiny little Lewis, a feeling of overwhelming Love almosted crushed me. The Love came with a deep sense of my inadequacy to parent. I think every parent feels this. As I looked at you, so vulnerable, so full of promise, Love called me outside into the vastness of the Universe to stand under the same stars that shone on Abraham and Sarah. I lifted you up over my head and made a vow uncluttered by words to God and to myself. There was no burning bush or shooting star, but something holy happened. Jillian, at your baptism, Clifton, Joana, your brothers and the whole church took vows to live after Christ’s example and to “surround you with a community of love and forgiveness…” Today, we here we stand with you. The deep bonds Love pulls us together. We are watching on screens, waiting in the parking lot, sending gifts and lifting prayers. We are all leaning in, seeking to push Love your way. We want to bless your lives together. We love you. We long for your love to grow and for you to push more love into the world!
The Apostle Paul tells us only three things matter: faith, hope and love. These alone are worthy of our best efforts. It is funny what Paul says does not matter so much: knowledge, preaching, and prophecy. A wonderful speech, romantic gesture, or generous gift given without love is incomplete. Indeed, a life spent on less than Love is wasted. If “we don’t have love, we achieve nothing and become nothing.” You both have wonderful careers before you. Lewis, Our Creator is an engineer. Jillian, justice, peace, and good-faith are our commandments. So you have wonderful professions, but without compassion, generosity and service you will miss life’s deepest joys. The trick of marriage and life in is that you can’t possess or hoard Love. It can’t be packaged or banked. Love is active and organic. Love must be risked. Compassion, generosity and Forgiveness are risky moves. Love must be given to neighbors, strangers and Jesus says even enemies. I hope you discover sooner than I did that love does not need to be right, win the fight, or get the last word in. No “Love is patient, kind, isn’t jealous, doesn’t brag, isn’t arrogant, isn’t rude, doesn’t seek to be at an advantage, isn’t irritable, doesn’t keep score, resists injustice, rejoices in truth. Puts up with things, trusts, hopes, and endures”.
The fight for marriage equality asks us what marriage really is. Christian marriage is an act of faith, hope and love. Jillian and Lewis you are here today, asking God into the center of your most significant relationship to guide your lives and grow your love. We are in this building and out in the parking lot, and watching in Greensboro and a hundred other places. We are leaning in, Love compels us to offer our help and our blessings to you. After all, Love is all that we have. We ask God to catalyze your love, so that others might look at the way you treat each other and say: “Look at Jillian and Lewis, that is how you love each other”! Amen.