"Five Short Sentences"
A Wedding Toast
For James & Bekah Kimball
30 May 2015

Dateline: 5 June 2015

Me, delivering the speech and toast.

I Blog Posted Here a few days ago about the marriage of my youngest son, James, to his new wife, Bekah. And I mentioned that I gave the wedding toast. One of the comments to that post got me to thinking that since I wrote out my toast speech, I may as well put it here on this blog. So, for anyone who might be interested, the following is the prepared speech I delivered at the wedding reception...


As I’m sure most of you realize, it is customary for the Best Man to give a small speech and propose a toast to the new bride and groom here at the wedding reception. But James doesn’t have a Best Man, so he has asked me, his father, to perform this honer, and I’m pleased to do so.

Were James to have asked one of his brothers or a friend to do this, you would likely hear something witty or humorous. But you won’t get that from me. I’m inclined to say something heartfelt and serious. I’m inclined to see this as an opportunity to impart some small kernel of great wisdom about love and marriage to the new couple.

And so I went looking for this kernel of great wisdom about love and marriage. I went to the only reliable place I know where you can find truth and wisdom: I went to the Bible.

And there it was. I found it. I found five short sentences that offer profoundly wise advice for a young married couple, or, for that matter, any married couple. 

These five short sentences are, essentially a recipe for a successful marriage.

Chances are you have heard these five short sentences before. They are commonly found in wedding ceremonies. But I would ask that you listen to these words as if this is the first time you have heard of them. And perhaps, you could think about them like you have never thought about them before.

Also, please keep in mind as I read these five short sentences that the wisdom you are hearing is TRANSCENDENT wisdom.

Which is to say, this wisdom does not come from Hollywood, or  Oprah, or Dr Oz. This wisdom does not come from popular music or the people who sing popular music. This wisdom doesn’t come from politicians, or university professors, or people who play sports games particularly well.

No, this wisdom you are about to hear TRANSCENDS the wisdom of mere mortals. This wisdom comes from the heart and the mind of God.

It comes from He who created us, male and female… Who created the institution of marriage. And who designed marriage to be a blessed union between a man and a woman, until death do them part.

Now, listen carefully to the transcendent wisdom in these five short sentences….

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Those words are found in the 13th Chapter of the Book of Corinthians. 

I don’t know about you, but when I hear those words they resonate with me. They resonate with me because the picture of love they present is truly beautiful. And it is truly worth pursuing, especially within marriage.

This is the kind of love that not only stands when other kinds of love wither away; it grows stronger and sweeter with the passage of time. 

James and Bekah, those five short sentences are the sure foundation for a blessed marriage. But that kind of love within a marriage will not be just a blessing to the two of you— it will be a blessing to your family and the world around you. I dare say, a marriage built and sustained on this kind of love can even be a blessing to the generations that follow you.   That’s how powerful this kind of love is.

And so, James and Bekah, in closing, it is my hope and prayer that the two of you will embrace this transcendent wisdom, and know this love as you embark on this great adventure of married life.

Now... with all of that in mind, I would like to propose a toast: 

To James and Bekah Kimball. May you know the depth of love as described in the five short sentences. And may the home you make together always be a refuge of love and peace in the midst of this troubled world.


Sidenote: There was no alcohol at the wedding, so I toasted with a paper cup of ice water. :-)


Elizabeth L. Johnson said...

Pastor? Well, maybe a pastor's heart. Sharing this with my daughter who has a wedding anniversary (5th) this month. Continues to be my wish and desire for her. Well, well put! All our marriages in christian community would last if we kept this in our uppermost thoughts!

SharonR said...

Until my daughter was recently married, I've never attended a wedding where there was a "toast". Why? I guess because I've never been to a wedding that served wine. Out of respect for her parents, our daughter did not have wine, but the groom's family was accustomed to wine and toasts, so with the tea-totaller choices at hand, his dad gave a toast, and a very thoughtful one it was, too. But, it was strange to me, and I hadn't studied up on etiquette to know if Husband was supposed to offer a toast back. He didn't. I suppose silence was better than to open the mouth and make things even more uncomfortable when you're not sure what to do.

It's a good thing that you have chosen these words. Excellent, simple to recite, and by God's authority. Well done. I liked reading your toast.

SharonR said...

Oh, I just saw your comment about the water. Sorry.
I don't know if it was the regions we've lived in - West Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, or the fact that we just never had wine at weddings. I'm not opposed or judging in a negative way of wine at weddings -- we just are not accustomed to it, so we don't do it or even like it.
But, I do like the toasting words. I think we have missed something. The preachers doing the marrying have always given good words in the ceremony, so maybe that was our substitute. :-)

Anonymous said...

Excellent "toast." Not with wine or even water, but with the Word of God. An excellent description of the kind of love that makes a marriage a true Christian marriage. And you are correct a loving marriage not only blesses and fulfills the spouses, but the love and blessing it generates permeates families around and society as a whole. Congratulations to you and the newly-weds.