You may recall this picture from a couple weeks ago:
Baby Brother and I flew across country so I could marry our dear friends Jeff and Jeannie. Today, I share some of those words with you (minus the part about how they met – that’s their story to tell). The bolded words in the latter half of the homily are birthed ideas and rephrased words from author Ken Wytzma’s new book, The Grand Paradox. So, if you like what you see, be sure to check out his writing (and, leave a comment below to win a gently-used copy of the book).
Like many of you, I traveled to be here today. Yesterday my almost-five month old son, Theo, and I flew across country from San Francisco to Tri-Cities. On the main flight into Charlotte, we landed ourselves a window seat with NO ONE in the middle seat – miracle of miracle – and a kindly potter named Tom two seats to our right.
At one point Tom and I got to talking, him about the pottery he throws and sells, and me about its relevance to Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and the closest thing to pottery I’ll ever understand: the epic scene in Ghost.
“You know,” he began to say to me, in between sips of whiskey and coke, “I need to be in Orlando tonite for an art show, so I’m cutting it close. But I just had to see my girl in California – $900 for the ticket, man, but she’s worth it. She’s worth it all.”
…And as he said those words, it hit me: today is the She’s worth it, she’s worth it all day for both of you. For Jeannie, you’ve been chosen – it has been declared that you are worth it all. Having walked alongside you for the past seven years, I celebrate this most momentous day with you. As your friend, I rejoice that Jeff has chosen you to be his bride, to partner with you and be his Other in this journey of life. Likewise, Jeff, Jeannie chose you in return, for you have captured her heart. You have unlocked the Real Jeannie hidden within, and with confidence, bravery and fearlessness, she has chosen you. When she met up with you in New Orleans, when you flew out to San Francisco, when a thousand texts and phone calls and emails were relayed, and when you got down on one knee, she said yes, yes yes, yes. She too chose you.
And that’s where our story of choosing picks up and fast-forwards to today: because, friends, the One Thing that separates today from every other day is that today you officially make your choosing known. You boldly declare your choice of LOVE to God, to each other, and to this flock of family and friends gathered around you.
Because Jeannie and Jeff, when we make the choice to love, love always wins, for there is never a time when love is wrong. Just as Christ loved the church, so you ought to love one another, and so you ought to continue to make the conscious choice to love one another.
As Christians, you have heard and adhered to these words, so let me end this time focusing in on Christ as our center: to Jesus, love is not just a sanction – it is not simply something we are given approval or permission to do, over and over again, because it is good, because of our status as humans or as followers of Him – but it is an imperative. And when love is an imperative, it becomes a noun, morphing into an essential and an urgent thing that we must do, that we must always make the choice to do.
So maybe that’s why numerous brides and grooms, on their wedding days, choose to hear the sacred words of 1 Corinthians 13 uttered …because it’s true: the choice to love never fails. So, today – and always – might your hearts be oriented toward the love of God, toward the love of each other, and toward the love of others, for all that follows will then sort itself out.
Because, Jeannie and Jeff, love is. Love does. Love holds and love believes. Love suffers and love gives, but love, in and of it self, is never wrong.
So, what is love to you? Is it both sanction and imperative? And what kindly potter of a man named Tom have you met on the airplane recently? If you want to win a copy of Ken’s book write “pick me! pick me!” in the comments, so I know to “pick you, pick you!” – otherwise, leave some love for kicks and giggles alone. Winner will be chosen on Friday, February 13th.