Monday, March 5, 2012

1 Cor 13 for my sister's wedding

I shared this at my sister's wedding in our home 2/26/2012...
Randy and I are going on 25 years of marriage this May. It isn't because we know more than others whose marriages don't last that long, or we had our crap together more...(anyone who knows us knows that is not true.) We have failed each other and our children. We are not perfect and therefore won't offer advice or words of wisdom on how to "do" this thing called marriage.
But one thing I can say without hesitation...our lives together, our marriage, has been a vehicle to show us each more clearly God's grace in our lives.
Barb suggested I share the passage from 1 Corinthians on love.
" Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
Before this familiar passage, Paul also talked about life without real love --- What's sad is that this type of life can actually look pretty perfect from the outside.
"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. (another version says clanging cymbals) If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."

If I just shared with you about Randy and I and our nearly 25 years together, and left it at that. It might leave you feeling a little empty. Why? Because it is an example of those clanging cymbals Paul mentioned. Honestly, if I just read the passage on love alone it can be clanging cymbals too.
If I pointed to certain things you should "do" to have a successful marriage, it will all go nowhere and end up being just like the sound of a creaky gate...
This love is difficult... You know why? Because it is absolutely necessary and at the same time absolutely impossible. Wow, thanks Lori! That was inspiring! :)
Well here comes a little more inspiration...
Sometime in the future, when everything plays itself out and you go to that naturally selfish place and become ugly towards each other, or when you convince yourselves of how right you are and how much you deserve whatever you think you deserve and there seems to be a big gulf between you instead of this beautiful moment you are sharing today. You will want to know how to experience that impossible kind of love from 1 Cor 13 and The only true example of this kind of love was God's love for us through Jesus.
Listen to this story that Paul describes and see how it mirrors you when you are at a loss with someone you love. This however, is God's love story to us.
"It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us."
Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! ... Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.

Making up...reconciling is the best! It's a huge weight off of our hearts, right? God had to deal with our ugliness towards him because there wasn't anything we could do to make it all right. That is why there is hope...not just a lumpy couch to sleep on in the middle of a dark night, figuratively speaking.
So now what do we do with this love God has shown us...In Philippians Paul suggests something not too far from 1 Corinthians 13-
"If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death.
I have seen this in action. God's grace shines through Randy....I've even seen it shine through me at times. It is the only way we have experienced true love these 25 years- Him through us. I pray that for you.

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