Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God. 1 John 4:7
When my boys were young and sibling affection crumbled into mortal combat, I’d occasionally give them a “script” to say to each other. It was usually so formal, so exaggerated, that laughter ended their hostilities. This summer, when my grown son and his bride asked me to share some wisdom at their wedding, I wrote a script for them—not exaggeration, but from aspiration. It’s a vision for Marriage that I know by faith and covenant, one I’m still living into.
Part 1. Marriage as Welcome.
You are welcome here.
Every day, sometimes with words, you say to your beloved:
You are welcome here. Welcome to my heart and to my soul; welcome to the truest part of me that is still mystery even to me. Welcome to my journey of becoming the kind of person in whose presence you can be your truest self, where anxiousness, defensiveness, anything false, can finally relax. Welcome to knowing that you are wanted and delighted in, that every part of you is loved, that you can be at home with me. Welcome to all that I am and all that I have and all the good that I ever will be in this life. You are welcome here.
Others are welcome here.
Standing together side by side in the security of your union, you say in unison:
Others are welcome here—because others want and need to be inspired by our life together, and because we need their perspective to help us keep ours. We welcome them to our life, to our home, to our table, and to our endeavors. Whether friends, family, neighbors or strangers, as we welcome them they will bless us, and challenge us. And change us. Especially those unexpected strangers that are our children. Regardless of how carefully we plan for them (or not), they come as God’s good idea and gift to us. Whether children or circumstances, we will welcome the unexpected. Any difficulties or disappointments, we will write them into the best chapters in our story. And others will help us. Others are welcome here.
God is welcome here.
Notice that, page by page, your Love story is epic because it is, in it’s entirety, significant to the story of God, For God is love, the Bible says, When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. (1Jn1MSG) So together you will say by the way you live:
God is welcome here. Because the God that Jesus reveals is the gladdest, most joyous, most inviting welcoming Person in the universe; because God is the source of any “welcome” we offer to anyone, because God is the initiator and chief sustainer of all love, and because love is to be the main characteristic of our life together, we welcome God. Thus, we welcome Love, True love, which by word and action brings the highest possible good to each, and has nothing to do with the kind of mood I might be in. We learn how to by watching Jesus: how to welcome God, how to love each other, and how to live with deep contentment, joy, and confidence in our everyday life with God right now. No matter what. God, we say, Love is welcome here.