Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sermon: Affirmation of Matrimony: Michael and Jeanne Hunt

11 April 2009 at Harvey, LA

Text: 1 Cor 13:1-13

In the name of + Jesus. Amen.

Michael and Jeanne, Cameron and Lauren, family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and honored guests. Greetings in the name of the Crucified One, whose glorious resurrection we will commemorate tonight and tomorrow. Peace be upon you.

St. Paul’s magnificent description of love is as profound and true as it is beautiful. For it is God’s Word. He speaks of a specific kind of love, the love God has for His people – a love that is unconditional, self-sacrificing, limitless, and all-availing. St. Paul also teaches us that human marriage is a window into this divine love, that marriage is itself a picture of this kind of love.

Indeed, love between spouses is patient and kind, not envious, arrogant, or rude. It is not resentful, nor does it wallow in wrongs. It is rather rooted in truthfulness.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

It is this persistence, this endurance, this steadfastness that is the mark of true love – God’s love for us, and the love between spouses.

People often confuse love with the very real emotions and feelings that love generates. But the emotions and feelings are not themselves love. Infatuation quickly burns out. Lust fades away. Marriages entered into out of social pressure, greed, or ulterior motives are doomed to fail. But love, real love, godly love “endures all things” and “never fails.” For such love is the will of God. Nothing can get in its way.

Michael and Jeanne entered into this holy covenant 20 years ago. And today we have hindsight. They have indeed endured all things, and done so together in submission to the Triune God. They have been blessed to grow into a family of four, who likewise bound in love, continue to endure all things together. But 20 years ago, this holy estate was entered into by a leap of faith, not knowing the future, but grounded in a mutual promise of fidelity and supported by loving families and a childlike reliance on God.

Not every marriage follows the script. Life is full of surprises and twists and turns. And yet, “love endures all things.” Come what may, the two have become one flesh, and this one flesh finds a way to remain united in love in defiance of a world hostile to this sacred institution. This is why two decades ago, Michael and Jeanne vowed to endure together “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health.” For love is unaffected by all of these things. For “love bears all things.”

And yet, looking back in time, we see there was a script all along – a plan according to the Lord’s precepts and will. And as the Psalmist proclaims: “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.”

Michael and Jeanne, this blessing is yours. It has been demonstrated over the past two decades, it is borne out in your children, and it is my prayer for you in decades to come, even as the Word of the Lord continues: “The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon [you].” Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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