The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary, 43 Foreside Road, Falmouth, Maine 04105 / 207-781-3366

Your Job in Marriage

  • June 3, 2017
  • 03:00 PM

Sermon for Wedding of Jared Hourihan and Kayla Bohnson

Texts:               I John 3:18-23; Luke 6:32-38

My friends, let us love one another, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

Jared and Kayla: First of all, let me say congratulations to you both. What you are doing together today is good and beautiful and amazing.

To pledge faithfulness & loyalty to one another for “as long as you both shall live” is an amazing thing, and a beautiful thing, and a fundamentally good thing.

But it is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who are afraid of challenge and adversity.

And THAT’s why I read this passage from the Gospel of Saint Luke. It is a challenge from the mouth of Jesus. And it is absolutely PERFECT for a wedding.

“Love your enemies, do good and lend, expecting nothing in return.” Did you hear that? Expecting nothing in return.

Now, let’s be honest. I’m not sure that this is entirely possible in any relationship.

To never expect anything in return? That may be impossible for all of us, but it IS a goal of spiritual maturity for which we all can strive.

And, of course, loving your spouse is not the same as loving your enemy. Although it may feel like that sometimes.

Not today, of course! And not tomorrow! But that day will come. Marriage is not easy, and it requires a willingness to face challenges and overcome them.

In just a minute, you will stand here before God and all of us and make a solemn promise to remain together “until [you] are parted by death.”

In order to make that happen, you need to be very, very clear about what your job is.

You are NOT getting married so that your personal needs will be met. You are NOT getting married to improve your financial position and decrease the taxes you must pay. You are NOT getting married to fulfill some external social obligation.

Rather, you ARE getting married so that you can release the full potential of your partner.

Listen: in the church, we consider marriage to be a sacrament. What is a sacrament? A sacrament is a means of grace – one tried-and-true way by which God pours divine energy and grace into the lives of ordinary human beings.

A sacrament is a way to plug into divinity – to connect with the unlimited resources of God.

So when we talk about marriage as a sacrament, what are we saying? There is no bread and wine. No water or oil. None of the ordinary stuff used in a sacrament.

What is the ordinary thing in marriage that God uses as a tool for grace?

You are. Jared, when you make these promises to Kayla, you are offering yourself to be the primary way that she become all that God has created her to be.

Kayla, when you make these promises to Jared, you are giving yourself as the primary way – day after day after day – that Jared can become all that God intends for him to be.

Marriage is about giving to the other, unleashing the full potential of the other.

Doing good, giving, lending, forgiving, withholding judgment and condemnation, giving abundantly – all without any expectation of getting something in return, and even when you feel unappreciated or taken from granted.

THAT’s your job in this marriage! THAT is love as God and the church understands it. And it is not easy.

But if you do that, if you practice this kind of sacrificial love, day after day, the truth is that you will receive far more than you could ever ask or imagine.

“For the measure you give will be the measure you [receive.]”

I am confident- and we all are confident – that the two of you will do this, and that together you will become far more than you ever could be without one another.

So thanks be to God that you found each other. And thanks be to God for the gift of this marriage. Amen.

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43 Foreside Road, Falmouth, Maine 04105 / 207-781-3366