04 Aug Love is fierce – Wedding of Breiz and Robert- July 29, 2023
Preacher: REVD Ian Gallagher
Sermon 2023.07.29 · WEDDING OF ROBERT AND BREIZ
Given by the REVD Ian Gallagher at the Church of Christ the King Frankfurt
Song of Solomon 2.10–13, 8.6–7 · Psalm 23 · Colossians 3.12–17 · John 15.9–12
Breiz and Robert—some of this will be meant for you. And that’s a good thing. But some things will need to be said knowing that you have a lot of folk here as eyewitnesses, as they need to know what I’m telling you both.
However, there will also be things to be said that are just as much, if not more, meant for them. Got it?
That said, my being up here is being billed as a homily, not a sermon. It’s a polite but churchy suggestion to keep it kinda short. So don’t drift off now, I beg you. Listen carefully, because I will say this only once.
Today I would like to talk about love. And what God’s got to do with it.
LOVE IS FIERCE.
Could it be that I mean fierce in the way accompanied by a gesture, you know, to make a semi-rotation in the air with one’s hand ending with a finger snap? Perhaps that kind of fierce?
Not really. I don’t mean an attitude, a posture, but a whole state of being. By this I mean that the gift of love is fierce.
And the fierceness of love sets of a chain reaction of associations, a cascade of meaning.
Fierce as in fiery. Fiery as in ferocious. Ferocious as in tenacious. Tenacious as in strength.
Liebesstärke. It’s not really a word in German, but in case I think it ought to be. By this I mean the strength of love, and by that the fierceness of love.
But that said, and hearing myself speaking it out loud, it could be construed as something else. Doppeldeutig.
For you see, Liebesstärke could also be the STARCH of love.
(Does love have carbs?… )
I would argue that if anything, love needs protein. Why? Because a fierce, sustaining love requires energy.
That said, love can be sustenance. Love is enough to sustain a human being on this earth. Okay, sure, the human organism needs food, water, oxygen, but you have to admit that if we didn’t love ourselves—feel love being given, received, or invested in—well, you might understand that the reasons for living might be scant.
And of course, the love that is shared with another, and shared among others, is fiercer.
But the love that is fiercest is that of God. For you see, God exists in love. It’s the love that holds the Godhead together, it’s the love the keeps the universe together.
God so loved the world that he gave us a gift. The gift of his Son [John 3.16]. And if God is love, all here to live in love, live in God [1 John 4.16].
And by all means, please, take God’s advice that you should love each other as God loves you [John 15.12].
Love is as fierce as the grave [Song of Songs 8.6]. Very true. You are about to make vows to each other before God and all these folk that death will be that which separates you. But it won’t severe that love. Why? Because love is as fierce as the grave, and I would say, even stronger.
And just as strong as love, let forgiveness, forbearance, and patience and perseverance be strong as well [Colossians 3.12].
[To the congregation and wedding guests:] Be fierce for them. Not as individuals, for they are from today this new thing—like this symbol, this Capital P with beer belly and an overlong tongue. They are now this bigger and better thing.
As we all know, in every marriage there will be difficulties, there will be bumps. But you all, be fiercely loyal to them as a couple. Hold them to the promises they will be making to God and each other in your hearing. And support them, so that they as a couple, can be a beacon of love and support, comfort and solace. Because love is far too fierce to keep contained.
When I was here ten years ago, Robert and Breiz were only just about on each other’s radar. Look what’s become of them in the intervening time.
Love like this will also take a quiet tenacity. Of course, love can be like lightening. But love can seep through like water ingress, just as powerful, though it takes time, it takes patience.
It takes discipline, it requires effort, and indeed daily work in keeping love fierce, fiery and ferocious.
In just five minutes I have said the word love now thirty-four time, and the word fierce more than for many lifetimes, but let me close with this: God is love. Do the work, because it will always be worth it. [To the congregation] Don’t let up on them. [To Breiz and Robert] Don’t you dare let up on each other, but know this—God
will never let up on you.