Be Thankful!

Message on Colossians 3:12-16

The Wedding of Ashley Albertson and Alex Lippencott

Pastor Karen Crawford

Ashley and Alex have waited for this day for a long time—to make their promises before God and all these witnesses—to love one another, as long as they both shall live.

So much has happened since 2019, when we first met to plan the wedding service and imagine the marriage. So much has happened in the world and our families, and in the lives of Ashley and Alex.

 Today, when they come to say yes to one another and we ask God for His blessing on their marriage, it is fitting for us to consider and give thanks for the people who have helped to shape them and us to be who we are today.

Some of those people are here in person, celebrating this couple whom God has brought together and nurtured the gifts, hopes, dreams, ambitions, imagination, grace and faith that Ashley and Alex possess. You have been there when they needed you. You have helped to make them who they are! You have encouraged them to be all they can be and persevere. Your presence reveals your love and support as they begin a new life together—husband and wife.

For this, Ashley and Alex are truly grateful.

And there are people who are not with us in the flesh but who are with us in loving memory and spirit today who have helped shape the lives of Ashley and Alex and all our lives. They are in the Great Cloud of Witnesses cheering us on as we run the race of faith. Let’s take a moment to remember and give thanks for them.

One of these people is John Baird, Ashley’s grandfather. I had the honor to meet and preside over his celebration of life on March 28, 2020. JW, as Ashley called him, had a great influence on his youngest granddaughter. She told me that the choices she has made in life, what she has become, is because of his advice, teaching, encouragement, and example. He was the rock of the family. Tough and stubborn, but also gentle and patient. He was a calming presence in her life. And though she can no longer call him every day just to talk, like a best friend who listens with care and compassion, she senses his calming presence with her, even at this very moment.

In the same way, Ashley and Alex have impacted our lives. As they have been surrounded and supported by love and friendship, they have brought much joy, love and friendship to those who are blessed to know them. Knowing Ashley and Alex has changed us and helped to make us who we are. We are better because of knowing and loving them.

Ashley and Alex, I encourage you to bear with one another in your marriage and all your relationships. Be patient, just as you did for this special day that will forever change your lives.

And to all who gather here, forgive quickly. There will be days, months, and years that won’t go as planned. Forgive as God has forgiven us. In this is freedom! In this is love, that binds everything together, in perfect harmony.

And be thankful. When we are thankful, we open our hearts to Christ’s peace and joy and leave no opening for anger or hurt.

As they say yes to one another in a few moments for a lifetime, let us remember that God adds his yes to their yes and our yes on this special day.

Ashley and Alex, as Bonhoeffer wrote long ago, “God’s will and God’s way have brought you here… God is guiding your marriage. Marriage is more than your love for each other….In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations… In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility toward the world and all (humanity).”

Together, as a married couple, guided and empowered by the Spirit, you will continue to make the world a better place.

For this and all God will do through you, we are thankful!


Published by karenpts

I am the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown, New York on Long Island. Come and visit! We want to share God’s love and grace with you and encourage you on your journey of faith. I have served Presbyterian congregations in Minnesota, Florida and Ohio since my ordination in 2011. I am a 2010 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and am working on a doctor of ministry degree with Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I am married to Jim and we have 5 grown children and two grandchildren in our blended family. We are parents to fur babies, Liam, an orange tabby cat, and Minnie, a toy poodle.

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