Amanda and Jimmy’s November Rain

You know how it goes…..brilliant day…stunning bride, handsome groom…excited guests…the wedding rite is rockin’ and rollin’….and skadooosh… the wedding sermon ruins it; too long, teachy-preachy, dry, and frankly, too boring.

Well—-this is a wedding day but this is not THAT sermon because we are starting out with a song.  Released on February 8, 1992, it topped out at #3 on the U.S. Top Ten billboard charts and at 8 minutes 57 seconds is the longest song ever to land in the top ten.

The song offers insight for couples who want to keep on loving one another and who want to stay out of that cold November Rain.

Everyone here has relational goo that exerts an influence on us—and Axl Rose, lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, explores some of this relational goo in November Rain.

Axl says, “When I look into your eyes I can see a love restrained.

But darlin’ when I hold you, don’t you know I feel the same?”

Darlings, don’t we know something about holding back love? Don’t we know something about being a love restrained?

Haven’t we found ourselves in relationships that we thought would bring us love, but instead only brought us something envious or boastful or arrogant or rude? Something unkind that insisted on its own way? Something that wasn’t love at all.

And from that moment on didn’t we find it hard, “to hold our candle in the cold November rain,” which poured down to extinguish the burning desire, hot passion, bright hope, and ultimately our best dreams?

We hurt. And when it came to matters of love we didn’t trust ourselves or others any more. We spent, “such a long, long time just tryin’ to kill the pain.” And we felt that, “love is always coming and love is always going, and no one’s really sure who’s lettin’ go today and walking away.”

And there we are in the pain of thinking things like this…..and then somewhere, somehow, someone comes along and makes us want to find the strength and courage to love again—-not to play at loving, but to really love.

They make us want to find the ability, “to take the time, to lay it on the line, so we could rest our head just knowin’ that you were mine.” And, as we think of this person, night and day. And in those times when excitement holds sleep away we ask ourselves, “Don’t you think that you need somebody? Don’t you think that you need someone?” Deep inside ourselves we hope “we’re not the only one; not out there all alone.” When we look into the eyes of that certain wonderfully vulnerable someone standing before us, wanting us to love them—inside us we hear them asking, “Don’t you think that you need somebody? Don’t you think that you need someone?”

And just like that the fire in our heart ignites a candle inside us that pushes us through the cold rains of fear and jaded doubt that can no longer stop us from saying, “…if you want to love me…then darlin’ don’t refrain.”

In that moment we realize that the vulnerability of the one before us mirrors our own hope and pain… and in fact, their loving of us is setting us free so there’s no way in heaven or hell we’re goin’ to let them end up walkin’ in the cold November rain.”

But, still up in our heads we see the shadows, doubts, and the fears that well up, but somehow as we look into those vulnerable eyes reflecting love deep into us we feel, “…our fears subside,” and yes, “the shadows still remain,” but we look into those beautiful warm vulnerable eyes and think, “I know that you can love me and there’s no one left to blame, so never mind the darkness, we still can find a way ’cause nothin’ lasts forever even cold November rain.”

Love is alive. Love is ablaze and Love outlasts everything even cold November Rain.  St. Paul says this—“no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always ‘me first,’

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.”  (The Message)

Amanda—live into this. Jimmy—live into this.

You both realized some time ago that you think that need somebody, that you think that you need someone— since you no longer want to be a love restrained step up into the chancel and step out of the cold November Rain.