HEATHER KATHLEEN MAY
A SERMON FOR GINNIE AND GAVIN
By the Rev'd Heather Liddell
Let us pray: Lord God, Creator of all, we thank you for Gavin and Ginnie, who have brought us together today, and we pray that we might come to know more about your love as we celebrate theirs. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
What a gift to remember that Christ's first miracle was at a wedding while we are gathered here at a wedding. What a gift it is to be gathered here at all. What a blessing to witness a miracle. In a few short moments, Gavin and Ginnie will hold hands, look deeply into each other's eyes and make vows to love, comfort, honour, protect, and be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives. In a few moments, they will be standing up in front of you - their community - and in front of God. Their promise today to love and cherish each other: for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for the rest of their lives is beautiful. It is a gift that they give to each other and to their community. Right now - at this moment - you are a glimpse of what love is and what it can do in this world. And that is nothing short of a miracle.
In this moment, you are pointing together to the greatest love that this world has ever known.
Let me explain what I mean by that:
Today, here and now - we are getting a glimpse of God's reality. A fast forwarded snapshot of what God most wants for God's people. Together you are a picture of what love is meant to be. You are standing up in a dark world, in a pandemic, in a world where social and economic norms teach us again and again that some humans are worth more than others. A world where the ends can justify horrific means - a world that is too often ugly and heartbreaking and cruel - you are standing before us and saying that you believe in the impossible. You believe in a reality that is bigger than the most vicious evils we can imagine. You believe in love. And that it is a gift to all of us gathered here today.
Because when we look at you - when we look at Niall - we believe in love too.
Ginnie and Gavin have chosen love, and in front of us today, they are declaring that they are committing to being rooted and grounded in that love.
No matter what.
These two had to reschedule and postpone their wedding, and now that it is finally here, they stand before us, knowing that many people they love cannot be here.
I don't need to remind anyone here that we live in a complicated time. There are things in this world that aren't right. And, there will be more things in Ginnie and Gavin's life together - in your life together - that won't be right. There will be times when you disagree or when one of you is sick. You will have to make tough decisions about finances and family and how to spend your time. Life happens. But, the promise you're making today is that you will face that life - whatever it holds - together. Bound not merely by a legal contract but by LOVE. The kind of love that makes everything else worthwhile. And we need that kind of love now more than ever. Now - in these complicated times - we need outrageous love that goes beyond reason.
I know you love him, Ginnie, but he isn't perfect, and Gavin, I know she looks like an angel today, but she isn't. And it is so much better this way. It is better because together, the two of you can point to a better world. In a real and tangible way, you can point to the kind of world that God intended for us to live in. By trying your best and trying again when you fail, you point to a bigger reality than yourself. You point to God. The big - numinous - wholly other God who loved His creation so very much that He not only promises the storm-tossed and despairing and lonely and mourning and sad, comfort, but He delivered by coming himself to show us what love is.
That is the love that you point to today. Christ's love.
Now, I have something important to tell your friends and family, but I hope you will listen to this too. Each of us here is about to make a vow alongside this stunning couple: a vow to do everything in our power to support and uphold this marriage. I can tell you right now that when I make that vow - I - and the church I represent, we are going to mean it - and I hope that you will too because this kind of love takes work and it takes support, but Ginnie, Gavin, it is the kind of thing that changes the world.
Are you two ready?