The First Letter of John reveals love as one of its primary themes. Love carries the second half of this letter, in fact. The apostle urges his readers/listeners to love and lays out a very careful argument.
The lectionary adopts this argument as one of its ten options for the New Testament reading at a wedding. The logic is beyond “God knows love;” the apostle is insisting “God is love.”
Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
This passage begins a longer section that leads John to conclude that love will find an expression both visible and consistent. The visible expression of love is simply loving others because God has first loved us. The consistency involves the natural inspiration of experiencing God’s love: we will naturally want to love others because of it.
With a couple in love, the expression and feelings of love are nearly a given, at least in the early stages. 1 John 4 strikes me as a passage more apt for a long-married couple than for a wedding day, but still, there are a few good lessons to which to hold fast.
First, human love is rooted in God. God made us. God made us for love and God made us to love.
Second, the example of the Son is the revelation of the Father. This example includes Jesus’ self-sacrificing acts. We believers who dare to attempt to love might keep the Paschal Mystery in mind as we treat our life’s partner with respect and affection, of course. We are also called to make heroic sacrifices as well.
Third, the expression of love, even for people inclined to be in love, has a way of perfecting the love of God.
If a couple were aware of God’s love in their lives, and saw that as part of the inspiration for their own relationship, this would be a good reading for the wedding day.
Maybe you have other insights. If so, please share them.