I was thrilled today to attend the celebration of the wedding of Zachary Anderson and Jessica Kesby, and to be invited to speak at the ceremony. Here's what I said.
Come back with me in your minds….
- to before they were married.
- to before they were engaged.
- to before they were going out.
Its March 2012. Zach was just a trumpeter in second year. And Jess was a trumpeter in four year. I have managed to get hold of Facebook Messaging between them. It’s Sunday the fourth of March, 2012. Background: Jessica had just started going to church at Epping Presbyterian Church on Sunday nights..
11:09pm Zach Anderson: How'd it go?
Jessica Kesby: church?
Zachary Anderson: yep
Jessica Kesby: it was so nice! i really liked it and we sung this song i heard it before and i liked it so much but when i got home i forgot the tune and words now i remember the tune but not the words we sang it at church tonight and it made me so happy to hear it again!
Zachary Anderson: haha that's great
Jessica Kesby: see if you know what it is: so la do do so la do re mi re do la mi reeee do do
Zachary Anderson: YES (that was brilliant btw)
Jessica Kesby: haahha what is it called?
Zach has worked it out.
Zachary Anderson: wait I wanna do the next bit do mi so LA, la so mi re. do / DO ti la, la so mi re
It’s the song that we just sang a minute ago!
11:19pm Jessica Kesby: in Christ alone!!! well done. i was really hoping you would do capital do for the octave
Zachary Anderson: hahha! well that was the coolest thing that ever happened over facebook chat
Jessica Kesby: yeah that was pretty special!
Zachary Anderson: so what do you reckon, Jess?
Jessica Kesby: about what?
Here comes the key question from Zachary Anderson to Jessica Kesby. This is Facebook chat. 11:26pm - March 4, 2012.
Zachary Anderson: do you think in Christ alone God took on flesh (fulness of God in helpless babe) as a gift of love and righteousness? (scorned by the ones he came to save)?
Do you think…
Till on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied - for every sin on him was laid, and it's only in the death of Christ we can really live?
And Jessica Kesby replies - at 11:27pm
Jessica Kesby: haha well said! yeah i do!
Zachary Anderson: yeah?
Jessica Kesby: yeah smile emoticon
Zachary Anderson: tell me more. Or maybe wait until we can talk about it face to face?
Jessica Kesby: both are fine with me
Zachary Anderson: haha
Jessica Kesby: i'm like bursting to talk about it. i didn't even realise i was so much, till i started to talk a little bit
We’ve just looked at the words of a song. Big words from a song. It’s poetry - written by a man - but drawn from the Bible.
The Bible reading … from which the ideas were drawn … is John’s first letter in the New Testament, chapter four, sentence 10.
¹⁰ This is love:
You want to know what love is? It’s kind of strange that here on a wedding day - we would be defining love. This is God’s definition of love:
¹⁰ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Love is not a feeling. And crucially, love is not lust.
You look at her today Zach - and she is just wonderful! But that’s not love.
THIS IS LOVE.
Love is an action. A decisive concrete specific action. We were rebels against God.
Jessica - is clear about this, she didn’t have a relationship with God. She’d been exploring Buddhism and Islam - and Hedonism — and in her words:
‘Doing everything she wanted that made her feel good - but not pursing relationship with God.
And yet she came to see - that when she wasn’t loving God - God had taken the initiative….and sent his precious son Jesus - to die to pay for her wrong before the Almighty.
She didn’t love him - but God sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for her sins.
For Zac - it wasn’t as dramatic - growing up in a Christian family….. but at 15 - he went on the explore - to think through - for himself/not just believing what his parents had taught.
And - just after the HSC - in France - actually - there was a moment - when God reached out to him- and it was actually hearing - in French - the message that he had heard many times before - but hearing it somehow freshly in french… Hearing, that …
on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied. For every sin on Him was laid;
Every thing ….. that Jess, Zach, me, you - have done…. laid on Christ Jesus.
Here in the death of Christ I live.
So love is God’s love for us in Jesus! And the love of a couple for each other? Well, Zach, Jess, look at sentence 11, for this is how you are to love.…
¹¹ Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ¹² No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
We love in action by putting the others interests ahead of ours.
I know that there will be some here who have a clear grasp of Jesus love. But, there will be others, who are prepared to admit to themselves, 'I haven’t and I want to.'
Some of you will know that Jessica works as a part time volunteer trainee at our church. And pretty much straight after they get back from honeymoon we have given them a job to - of leading a dinner time discussion group - called Introducing God.
It will be working through these issues of the love of God for us - in relaxed discussion - over seven weeks of red wine and pasta. If you want to do it with them then send them a message on Facebook chat.