The very first thing I say to begin weddings is, “God is love, and those who abide in God, abide in love. You may be seated.”
That is one of my favorite lines from scripture, (all except for the “you may be seated” part, of course). It is found in First John 4. I love it so much that I have started beginning every worship service with it.
Perhaps it is just me, but I think I have heard far more often the command to, “love God,” rather than the promise, “God is love.” Why is that so? Maybe it is our human need to turn everything into a project. If our project is to love then we can feel good about our accomplishments and bad about our failures. It becomes all about us. But if God just loves, because God IS love, then it takes the com-petition out of it. God is love if we succeed, and God is love if we fail. If we know God’s love first then our love will soon follow.
Maybe it is the staggering ways human beings can find to be un-loving toward each other. You don’t have to look very hard to find plenty of evidence of human cruelty. In fact most of us need look no further than their own heart. Never mind how you treat others, I bet you are far more kind to them than you are to yourself. There is at once in all of us a desperate need to be loved, and a defensiveness that denies love. And yet, there again if “God is love,” it is humbling to consider that God’s love overwhelms all that is unloving and all that would keep us from loving. God loves even the parts of our-selves that we consider unlovable. That’s what we call grace, uncon-ditional love.
At a wedding it is the promise that whatever life brings it is not hu-man love alone that will carry us through, but God is love not only on the first perfect day filled with flowers and candlelight but every day. In fact the only reason we love at all is because, “God first loved us,” which is First John again.
Whatever you are doing just stop a minute, close your eyes and real-ize “God is love.” You took your first breath in love and when you release your final breath you will be breathed in by God to eternal love. Kinda cool.