Dear Matt and Ashley, dear friends and family gathered here for this joyful occasion, God’s grace and peace to you all.
Matt and Ashley, I was thinking as I wrote this message for today
About how love is often expressed in song and poetry
And then I was thinking about all the great poets, like Silverstein and Plath,
How they could wave together words to make you cry or laugh
And I thought how I wished I could write something lovely like that
Words smart and profound and thoughtful, something you would never forget
But with two babies at home there is always a lack of time
So while I have written no great poetry, I have lovingly written for you a rhyme.
First, let’s take a look back – the unfolding of your love’s tale
A time long before a black tux, a wedding veil.
Your history goes back so far I wonder if you could even trace
The moment that you met, when you first saw each other’s face
And who would have guessed this very church would be the site
Where true love’s wings would eventually take flight
And you would begin to see forever in each other’s eyes
Such a wonderful blessing, such a great surprise.
So now very soon your marriage vows we will hear.
Your life together as a married couple draws very near.
And all of us have gathered here to wish you the best
To pray that your future is beautiful and blessed
But even more than that we gather to give God praise
For the riches of love and family and these happy days
Matt and Ashley, listen closely now, you two
Because there are a few simple but important things I will say to you
A few simple words I hope you will really hear
A few simple words I pray you will hold near
How fitting I thought was the first scripture reading you chose
It speaks so well of time – how it ebbs and flows
You already understand something about the mystery of time
As you’ve so patiently waited for this day to arrive
In 2005 we suspected things were serious when Matt packed up to go
Ashley was living in Nebraska, so Matt said goodbye to Colorado
I remember, Matt, you said your heart was already there,
So you knew what to do, your vision was clear.
Off you went to follow your heart
Off you went so you wouldn’t have to be apart.
And over the years God has blessed you two
Kept you close, seen you through
But as your marriage begins, time has more secrets to share
As you seek to nurture this love with tenderness and care.
There was a study done many years ago
About marriages that die and marriages that grow
It said that most couples have become too busy for each other
That on average twelve minutes a day is the time spent together
It stressed that without time together, relationships wither and die
Without time together love’s river becomes dry
So Matt and Ashley, my first prayer for you today
Is that you always take time to laugh and to play
To be intent on sharing activities and talks,
Golfing and movies and biking and walks.
Over the years always take time to hold hands or go for a drive
Because time spent together will help your love thrive
So of the words I want you to remember on this your wedding day
“Time” is the first one I wanted to relay
You’ve shared many years, may God bring many more
But treasure every moment, they are too precious to ignore
And the second word we could not have a wedding without
It is the word “love” – it’s what today is all about.
But not the love of fairytales – for that only lasts so long
The kind of love we pray for you is much, much more strong
The kind of love we pray for you was described in the scripture reading
It is patient and kind and humble and hopeful – its’ perfection is exceeding
May you love each other always in this Christ-like way
May forgiveness and persistence be what you display
To one another as you share all that is ahead
May words that uplift be all that are said.
You know very well challenges and trials will always be
But treat each other with this kind of love and the benefits you’ll see.
So in addition to spending “time” together, may you love each other well
Be one another’s greatest cheerleader, and happiness in your home will dwell.
And one more word to remember today – the greatest word of all.
It’s actually a name, a name for God – the name “Emmanuel”
“Emmanuel” is a name for God we often hear when Christmas is near
It’s meaning is that God is with us – God is truly here.
And that is something, dear friends, we pray you will remember the most
Something you can take with you – a thought you must hold very close
Because when hard times come, as certainly they might
And even if it someday seems that there is more darkness than light
And maybe for a moment you’ll even forget how you love each other now
God forbid, it might even become hard to keep your marriage vow
Just remember, dear friends, that God is with you to help you through those days
Never forget to call on the one who stilled the wind and the waves
Pray for him to guide your marriage, always offering him your praise.
God brought you together, brought you to this moment, and with you God remains.
So, time, love, and Emmanuel – three good words to guide you through life
God bless you and your home always. God bless you as husband and wife.