Ever go to a wedding and somebody gets up to read 1 Corinthians 13 – the love chapter?
Today’s wedding included chapter 13 but with a twist.
The statements of the 13th Chapter of Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth were passed out before the wedding processional began. How are you connected to the couple? Would you be willing to read? A sentence here, a sentence there and pretty soon the whole reading was assigned to various guests. Would you be willing? Just stand and address the couple with the phrase you’ve been given. No you do not need to come up front. Thanks. Thank you. Thanks for helping out.
After a processional of dashing groomsmen and handsome bridesmaids, a couple of charming junior bridesmaids and a somewhat clueless infant ring bearer the assembly centered itself with silence. A greeting, a prayer, some laughter and then … “The Reading.”
1 Corinthians 13 sounded new. Through the Holy Spirit the holy Word came alive as a lifelong friend of the bride’s father started us off with, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” No sooner had he sat down and another line about not having love and gaining nothing echoed across the room. The bride’s 3rd grade teacher read to her once again, the musician’s husband, one of the ushers all added their contributions. Then the groom’s junior high friend who was groomsman memorized his line and his eyes never left their eyes as he spoke the Word directly to the couple.
The shortest line was just three words but that was enough as the next voice started to crack. “Love never ends,” exclaimed the father who just walked his youngest daughter down the aisle. Some of us noticed that he was holding his wife’s hand as he talked.
Then finally the truth that “faith, hope and love abide – but the greatest of these is love” was spoken by the groom’s grandma who had traveled a distance to sit in the front pew where all could hear the wisdom and experience in her voice.
The wedding guests, knowing they had been invited because of their love for the couple, smiled because it felt holy to name what love is and affirm the gift of love and its possibilities on this wedding day.