DATE: 3 June 2014
TO: Manantial de Gracia
TITLE: Toothpaste is Sacred
BIBLE READING: Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12
(MSG) It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
(NIV) Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
It is always an honor to be called to speak at a wedding, but it is a special privilege for me to be invited to perform this ceremony. Today, we are gathered together as one loving church to offer our support to Marianny and Iris on their wedding day! Today, we are gathered here as one church that believes that marriage is an act that is ordained and put together by God and that our responsibility as a body of Christ is to bear witness to what God has already put together. This marriage is about acceptance of God’s love.
I invite you to hear the words read from the Book of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 once more, but this time from The Message. And it reads as follows:
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!
Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.
By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Many of you may be wondering what this has to do with marriage, it is simple. Let us look at marriage as a braided rope. As Christians, many of us may have heard of the three strands of the braid as metaphors, representing: each member of the relationship and God. But while that is a great metaphor, I invite you to look at these three strands as being: Past, Present, and Future.
Strand 1: Their Past
Marriage is a union between two individuals, who have decided that it is better to work at life together than alone. But here is the thing, we are human and we come into marriage with all the baggage that comes with our experiences. We come into marriage with an image of what that union is going to look like and we try to fit the mold of what each party is supposed to be to each other. Some people go so far as to try to change each other! Trying to tame the other into their ideal mate…too late. Most of us can change our behavior, but there are things that are deeply ingrained and are more difficult to change.
Those of us, who have suffered heartbreak in the past, walk into our new relationship with our eyes open, and for a long time we kept our eyes wide open looking for ways to improve each other. But marriage, true marriage, allows us to do the unthinkable. Something that we may never have done before, or thought we would do again.
Strand 2: Present Relationship (Balance and Surrender)
Marriage allows us to close our eyes and surrender to another person; Marianny and Iris that is where the second strand comes in. You have now decided that having survived your past, you are ready to surrender to each other: Marianny, trust that Iris will be there to protect and guide you; Iris, trust that Marianny will be there to protect and guide you.
HAVE EACH OF THEM POUR OUT SOME OF THE TOOTHPASTE
Most of us have the hardest time with this strand. Strand one: Falling in love with a person is easy. We see with our eyes, we feel with our hearts, we reach out with our arms, but this second strand: finding the balance between what Marianny needs and what Iris wants…finding the balance between what Iris needs and what Marianny wants takes trust. Trust that each of you wants the best for the other, and for the relationship. Trust that every decision is being made with a sense of balance for the betterment of the relationship. That is when you are finally able to surrender your will each to the other. But where will their happily ever after come from?
Strand 3: Future-All You Need is Love
The first strand was made up of your pasts, the things that made you fall in love with each other, the things that made you, YOU. The second strand was made up of your present story, the trust that you each have in yourselves as individuals, and in one another. Your happily ever after will come from the love that will beget more love.
The Bible in 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV) gives a list of what love is and what love is not, it says:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I invited each of you to pour some of the toothpaste out of the tube, and I now invite you to pour it back in…
HAVE EACH OF THEM TRY TO PUT THE TOOTHPASTE BACK IN THE TUBE
As easy as it was to pour it out, as easy as it is to express anger and frustration, I want you to realize that taking negative words back is as difficult as putting toothpaste back in the tube. Remember that everything you bring into your relationship should be filled with a bounty of endless love.
To reach, this type of love, you need a connection to more love. Marriage is a holy union between three spiritual beings… The two of you met and fell in love, and God stands in the midst and joins your union as you ask of God. As they ask. The final strand that needs to be included is the Fountain of Love. God is that fountain. You can seek refuge in God: through prayer, S/He will hear you; through family bonding; through time spent in nature.
God is with you in the joining of your hearts and a blessing of your union. Marriage is a union. And here we are, Marianny and Iris… standing as witnesses to your intent to become one in the eyes of man, woman and God!