Geoffrey and Jessica, each one of us is so very grateful to share in this beautiful day with you as you become husband and wife. It’s been quite a journey to get here. And I’m not just referring to the 13 years you’ve been dating. The journey began for Jessica on that day I will never forget when my wife and I went to Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital to meet Shirley and Larry’s brand new baby daughter. I got to hold her. I wasn’t there when the journey began for Geoffrey, but some of you were. I’m sure some of you got to hold him.
Two babies brought into families that loved them and wished for them every happiness possible including, God willing, the happiness of finding the right partner with whom to share their lives. Geoffrey and Jessica are telling us today and we are here to agree with them that they have found that person. What a blessing from God that is!
I spoke with Geoffrey and Jessica about the possible scriptures we might read today. I told them almost every wedding has the Love Chapter — I Corinthians 13, and that it would be hard to improve on that. I went through the weddings I have performed and found some other scriptures I had used over the years. They talked it over and they came up with a passage of scripture I had never heard read at a wedding, but it is so fitting. So beautiful. So passionate.
It comes from the book of the Bible that might get a “parental guidance suggested” rating. It’s a book all about love. And it approaches love not as the Apostle Paul does with all those beautiful words about patience and kindness and faith, hope, and love. The Song of Solomon approaches love with equally beautiful words about body parts, and passion, and erotic physical attraction. Now there will probably be some of you who will go home to read the Song of Solomon for the first time!
Love is powerful. “It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench it.” It’s a gift from God that we are physically attracted to each other. The survival of the human species depends on it.
But this passage that we read is about more than love making. It is about the love that keeps people happily married when the blazing fire and the might flame have cooled off just a bit. The love that goes the distance — for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; ’till death do us part.
Many waters cannot quench this kind of love either. Thank God that is so! Geoffrey and Jessica, we see this kind of love in you and we pray that it will never be quenched.
My wife and I visited a man in the hospital recently. He had had some major surgery and he was telling us about it. He told us about how as he was being prepared for surgery he was told that he would need to remove his wedding ring. He refused. The nurse brought in her supervisor who said, “I understand we have a problem here about removing your ring.” He said, “No. There is no problem. The ring is staying on.” He was told the medical reasons why it is not advisable to wear a ring during surgery. He listened patiently and then he pointed to his wife. He said, “She put this ring on my finger 64 years ago, it has not been off since, and it is not coming off today.” They let him leave the ring on.
“Many waters cannot quench love. Rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for it, it would be utterly scorned.”
God bless you Geoffrey and Jessica and you say the vows and as you exchange the rings that will bind you as husband and wife. Let us pray.