Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
My sermon from the wedding of S. and L. on October 14, 2018. Translation from New International Version.
For me, one of the struggles of Fall is trying to figure out what to put on. The weather is usually a little too warm in the sun but it’s also a little too cold in the shade. Magazines, tv, and our favorite fashionable friends on Instagram try to remind us to dress in layers. But some of us have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out which hoodie or sweater or shawl to wear. I bet many of the folks here spent a good amount of mental energy this week trying to figure out what to put on for today. The dress, tux, and shoes might have been picked up months ago but we didn’t really know what else we’d have to bring. This past week, the weather was all over the place. If your wedding had happened just a few days ago we’d either be sweltering and melting into our expensive shoes or decked out in our finest yellow rain slickers and boots. Yet today has turned out to be a perfect, crisp Fall day. It’s exactly the kind of day you both wished it would be. We don’t need to worry about what extra thing we need to put on. Instead, we get to celebrate what you already bring. And that reminds me of something S.said when I met with you two – a few months ago. As you told me your personal stories, I wanted to hear more than just the details of your individuals lives. I wanted to know how you two are together. And S. said, very simply, that you both, first and foremost, are best friends.
And that’s because you two have already spent a lot of time doing the hard work of putting on love. Love is more than just an emotion. Love is that one thing that affirms and supports and values who we are and who we are becoming. Love opens us to what God is doing in the world and connects us to the special people God is putting in our lives. The three snippets of scripture we just heard comes from letters Paul wrote to small churches scattered all over the Mediterranean. He, liked L. and S., loved to travel – and his journey brought him to places he never thought he’d end up in. These small communities of faith were not perfect. There were squabbles, conflicts, and people who didn’t always get along. So Paul wrote to them over and over again, reminding them of who they are and whose they are. He pointed to their story, to their history, and what made them so beloved. The love you two share invites each of you to become more of who God is calling you to be. Clothe yourselves not only with the amazing outfits you’re wearing today. But, especially with your spouse and in your home, always put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and – especially – patience. And if you can do that, if you can keep clinging to what makes you exactly who you are supposed to be, then whether you’re sweltering, rained on, or facing one of those storms that life will bring your way – you two will keep living out of your love. And that love will always grow.