A wedding sermon I gave a few years ago.
I figured out the other day that I have done about 200 weddings in the last 30 years. That means I have had to give 200 wedding sermons, and, to be honest with you, I’m getting tired of it. Doing the wedding itself is okay, and the reception afterwards is fun, but it’s the wedding sermons I do not like. I don’t know what to say anymore after talking about marriage 200 times already.
Weddings are fun, but the sermons are an affliction to me. I’d rather write five funeral sermons than one wedding sermon. At a funeral, I know what to say. I can talk about how wonderful it is that the departed loved one is done with all the sorrows and troubles of this sad world and has gone on to live with our Lord in heaven who promised eternal life to all who believe in Him. That’s what I can say at a funeral, and there is truth and comfort in that.
But I don’t know what to say at weddings anymore. Of course, I could go on and on about how wonderful love is and about all the joys of wedded bliss, just like in the songs; ‘color my world with love,’ ‘you make me so very happy,’ ‘how sweet it is to be loved by you,’ and all of that. But surely, everyone here would then be saying to themselves, ‘Who is he trying to kid?– he’s married, he ought to know by now what it’s like, and it’s not like the songs on the radio.’ ‘Wonderful wedded bliss, my eye,’ I can hear everyone thinking. Marriage is tough, its hard work, and the two of you are in for it. Anyone can tell you that. A preacher shouldn’t be up here lying about how wonderful everything will be from now on. So I’m not going to do that.
But then, I could take the opposite approach, and I could tell you what to really expect. I could tell you to expect hard work, regrets, disappointments, conflicts, sadness, misunderstandings, and troubles galore. I could say “you better hold on to your hats, kids, and be ready for tough times ahead; and be ready to keep your vows anyway, because that’s what marriage is, a promise until death parts you, and don’t you forget it.” That’s all true, and some of those 200 wedding sermons were like that. But then later at the reception, I’d always feel bad about it. I’d feel bad about taking such a wonderful occasion as a wedding and putting a damper on everything by telling the couple about all the trouble they were in for. On this happy day why should I bother the two of you with all of that? You will find out soon enough.
One other thing I could do is use this time to give you lots of good advice. I have plenty of that to give and I do have the floor now for a little while. I could use this opportunity to remind you of all the things you were told when you were teenagers and weren’t listening. I could say “work hard, save your money, don’t forget everything your mother and father did for you, be content, don’t worry, be happy, don’t always be wanting something else and going broke getting it, be polite and kind to each other, talk things over, and, like the Bible says, ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger.’” I could go on and on with all kinds of advice, but no one wants to hear that today. As I said, I don’t like giving wedding sermons.
But even so, I am glad that we are here today for a wedding and not a funeral. And, I am glad it is for the two of you. I am happy that you have made it through all your ups and downs thus far, and, I am honored to be joining the two of you in marriage, even if it means doing another wedding sermon.