Sermon from the Service of Holy Matrimony of Léa Godret-Miertschin and Colin Chan

Come, thou, long-expected Love
Service of Holy Matrimony of Léa Godret-Miertschin and Colin Chan
Ephesians 3:14-19; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8, 13; Matthew 5:1-10
Rev. Sergio Rodriguez, Homilist
Wedding of Léa and Colin Livestream recording link

“I pray that you may have the power….to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph 3:18a, 19).”

Let us pray:

God, our Father, give to Léa and Colin, the power of your love, that your incarnate Love, Jesus, may make his home in their home, his body in their bodies, his love for us, their love for each other and the world. May this love allow them to truly know you, in the quiet moments of their lives, in times of sorrow and joy, in the microscopic and in the cosmic heavenlies. In so doing, they, together, may experience your love as filling their all, for all people. Amen.

I give thanks to our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for gathering us here to witness how God’s love has been (and will continue to be) born a new in the union of Léa and Colin. All of us, grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends of Lea and Colin (and those participating with us online), have committed ourselves to uphold and care for them in their life together. Léa and Colin, these two thoughtful, brilliant, committed, and joyous disciples, graduates of Rice University, have declared their intention to experience this journey we call life together; by God’s grace, they both intend to walk along a similar path in the medical field. Colin, in his current studies in medical school at Texas A&M, and Lea, as she currently works in research at Baylor College of Medicine (medical school is in the horizon, nonetheless). It is a path, if I may be bold, of love; God’s love for each other and God’s love through each one of them, blessing those in need of medical mercies. I find their decision to enter in the bonds of Matrimony during advent, fitting. Advent is a season of uncertain expectations: Where is our “Bethlehem,” the place where our expectations for our lives and God’s expectations for our love meet? How does Love, which is God, beget the love that finds its home in the ups-and-downs, in sickness and in health, of our life?

For Lea and Colin, and for us, I will focus, in this sermon, on providing a way for us: First, To understand Love, Christian Love, as both reflection of and participation in the very mystery of God. Second, To comprehend how this love moves Léa and Colin to live joyfully together, for the sake of the world. For, we know that God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them…and this love is perfected in us (1 John 4:16a, 12c).

Paul knows, we stand upon the breath and length and height and depth of love as we mature, and experience the fullness of life together. Paul urges the believers at Corinth and Ephesus to expand their view of life from this perspective. Both the Corinthians and Ephesus were caught in the dance of daily living, figuring out how best to live as one out of many. Certain individuals at Corinth, thought that to be church meant to conform. To follow exactly everything, they said and did. No compromise or difference. Their gifts of Prophesy and speaking in tongues were, “THE More excellent way.” The Gentiles of Ephesus forgot where they came from and in turn, thought their insight was the very, “breath, length, height and depth of God.” They knew what was best for them. In both circumstances, there is a failure to accept and appreciate the other exactly as God has made them to be.

Here is my first point: Love is the way because God has first loved us and embraced us just as we are. When Léa and Colin and I had our first pre-martial session, I wanted us to focus on Gottman’s Seven Principles for Marriage because I think they show us what love is. Here are the principles briefly: enhance your love maps, nurture your fondness and admiration, turn toward each other instead of away, let your partner influence you, solve your solveable problems, overcome gridlock, and create shared meaning. In other words, I told them to accept and appreciate each other for who you are and who you want to become because that is how God loves us.

Consider the beatitudes. Jesus does not say: “Blessed are those who become poor in spirit, or are working to be meek.” Jesus says, “Blessed are you.” He called us blessed out of his great love for us as we are. God calls you blessed, Colin, in your studies. God calls you blessed, Léa, in your research and in applying for medical school. That is who you are at this point. You both are on the way of love together, not yet at your destination, which is God, but certainly much farther than when you both began at Rice University.

All of us, are fellow travelers on this way, offering wisdom, stories of marriages successful and not, how best to live into love, and what best nurtures love. The vows seem like a tall order. And they are. But love is on the way for you both. And in the time that I have gotten to know Gretchen and Gary, Lea’s grandparents, I have seen this love. And you know of this love: it is patient, kind, not envious, boastful or arrogant. It does not insist on its own way; its not resentful. It rejoices in the truth. (1 Cor 13:4-7).” This love will give you the strength when you have conflict, or loss, or failures, and much joy and happiness. See how embracing this love us in all aspects of our lives? A love that invites you to lift up those moments of frustration, disappoint, joy and peace you both will have together and allow for God to make them his own. And when that happens, God will beget love in you in a way that will bring you both together in such times.

Here is my second point, which is more of a prayer than a point: My prayer for you both is that you can hear this blessing of love through each other when you say: With all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you. In these vows, there is love incarnate. There is the more excellent way that never ends. Those here who have decades of life and marriage can attest to the fact that though we may not get out of bed the same way, we know that the person right next to us bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, especially when life gets difficult. Somehow and someway, when we see our partner, we find the God whom we cannot see, in the love we can.

The world needs this love, Léa and Colin. Our world hurting with so much disease, conflict, broken families, painful traumas. Let your studies shine forth with your love. Let this love be a mantle upon the shoulders of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy and peace. May this love make of your home, a dwelling place where love may abide, and surpass all that we can ever hope and imagine. Amen.