Once upon a time. Those are some of the greatest words ever written, aren’t they? They capture our imaginations, they transport us to distant times and places where anything is possible. These words connect us with something bigger than ourselves. We find ourselves in the good stories.
And few stories are as good as love stories. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl get to be friends. Boy and girl both feel like it could be a more than friends kind of thing. Neither boy or girl gets up the nerve to say it. Girl moves halfway across the country. Boy sends email. And here we are today.
The good stories have all the movements – the tragedy when hearts are broken and everything falls apart, the comedy when love wins out leaving us laughing with joy, and the fairy tale when the impossible comes to life.
Carl and Sara, your story already has many chapters and movements. But the chapter that starts today is a special one to savor, full of expectation and romance.
But stories aren’t the only things that stoke our romantic embers. Sunrises have a way of doing that. You know the sunrise I am talking about – the one that paints the sky red and yellow and orange. You know it’s coming, but it still can take your breath away.
Sunrises only happen after the darkness of night. In the darkness, loneliness and worry and panic can feel overwhelming. Sometimes when we are left alone with our thoughts, we can lose our bearings. But just when it seems darkest, the tone of the sky changes and the light begins to peak through bringing with it the hope and mercy of a new day.
Carl and Sara, today is a new day in your life. It is a sunrise of promise and hope.
And there is one more really romantic thing – a song. The best songs evoke the strongest feelings we have. They tap into something deep and powerful within us.
But there is a lot more to the good songs than just emotional manipulation. Good songs have lyric and rhyme and harmony. They are orderly, almost mathematical. And yet they capture the full range of human emotion.
Carl and Sara, today your songs are coming together to form a new harmony, a new order, a new home.
But I am not talking to you today about stories and sunrises and songs because they are romantic. I am talking to you about them because for us they are pictures of God.
I think our stories – especially the good ones – are stories about God. There is the tragedy of how we betray him to go off on our own. There is the comedy of how he chases us down with forgiveness and grace. And there is the fairy tale of how he changes our lives in the here and now and promises us a new life in eternity. It is a love story with a hero named Jesus who can change our lives.
Sunrises too paint for us what God is like. He shines his light into our darkness bringing peace and wisdom to our chaos and confusion. And he gives us fresh starts with his mercy that is new every morning.
And he puts a new song in our hearts. It’s a song like him – full of harmony and rhythm and excitement. He has this way of moving us – of making our toes tap and our hearts race.
But Carl and Sara, here’s the thing. God has given us so many things to teach us what he is like. And now, today, he gives us your marriage to teach us what he is like. 1 Corinthians 11.3 says that the way that a husband a wife relate to each other is a picture of how God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit relate to one another.
This is the grand and wonderful and awe-inspiring purpose of your marriage. It is not merely to make each other happy or to make a home or to make a family. It is to make God known.
So love each other like he loves. And forgive each other like he forgives. Be faithful to each other like he is faithful. Through you we will all get to know him.