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SERMONETTE: Love is basis of all things

Last weekend I had the privilege of officiating the wedding of a friend. Few things give greater joy than watching a young couple unite their lives in marriage.

As I watched them, I couldn't help but wonder what life will throw at them -- perhaps a promotion at work, or a serious illness, unexpected visits from family and friends, children, tragedies, triumphs, joys and sorrows.

The beauty of marriage is that they now face the world and any challenges that may come their way together. They stood before the congregation as a united front as they began life together as one flesh. Hand in hand they entered marriage, hand in hand they stepped out in faith.

In the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul gives these instructions to the church: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are virtues which grow in our lives as we become more and more like Christ. And the cornerstone virtue is love. Love is what allows us to forgive each other and bear with each other.

Just as a newly married couple grow in love as they start a new life together, so also Christians are to grow in love for one another as we live life in Christ together. We'll find that love for one another and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit will give the power to forgive and bear with each other. And when we do this, we stand together stronger than we were as individuals. Our strengths cover each other's weaknesses and Christ becomes the center of our lives.