I have conducted a number of weddings this year, more than normal. All these occasions are happy and joyous ones and sometimes quite lively too!
At most, people are dressed up in their finery with suits or hats (at what other events do people wear hats nowadays?) and the mood is very upbeat.
The words of the 1967 Lennon and McCartney song “All you need is love” seem to sum up the sentiment of the occasion. Indeed, many of the couples choose to have the reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians at their wedding.
The theme of this reading is also all about love, love which is patient and kind but not arrogant or selfish or rude.
However, the couple also need to remember that they make the following promises to each other; “… to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish till death us do part.”
This can and will more often than not make that giving of unconditional love more of a challenge. At a wedding we do not like to think about when things might not go quite to the plans we have in mind, but couples will be very fortunate if they don’t come across some difficulties at some stage in their lives together.
And that’s where love really counts, when we rely on the unconditional love that others give us, a love which does not count the cost. I think that the modern world thinks that love is about how much we can give in material things, but I believe that it is much more about the time we give to our loved ones. It is when we give others time that they feel appreciated and loved.
That’s what Jesus did. He had time for everybody who came to him and he made the ultimate gift of love by opening his arms for us on the cross and dying for us so that we can have life in all its fullness.
So, “All you need is love”? Yes, I think so but giving it can be very costly!