040718 - Austin and Erika's Wedding
Austin and Erika, there will never be another day like today.
There will never be a day so anticipated, dreamed of, discussed, prepared for, choreographed, or expensive.
The uniqueness of this day lies in this: God has called you to become one. Your parents have recognized this and stand with you in joyous support. Your family and friends realize the same and are here to celebrate. Your church, along with everyone else, recognizes that these are holy moments and supports you with her prayers. What a great day this is! May God fix in your minds the sweet memory of this - your wedding day.
This is a Christian Marriage. Both of you know and love Christ, and you desire that he be at the very center of your lives and first in your marriage. As a consciously Christian marriage, the intimacy and commitment that you desire is drawn from the well of the sixth day of creation, when Eve was taken out of Adam’s side so that he might embrace with great love a part of himself. Adam’s should of ecstasy upon seeing Eve was:
23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
The rapturous cry records the first human words quoted in the Bible, as well as the first poetic couplet in God’s Holy Word. Such astonished ecstacy! Adam had found his longed-for love. And because God had just honed Adam’s naming powers, he spontaneously declared:
She shall be called Woman for she was taken out of Man.
The sound play of their names celebrated their relationship.
Adama had restated his own name, embedded in hers, trumpeting the greatest intimacy.
Adam’s shout echoes down this day (your wedding day), proclaiming loudly the joy and intimacy of marriage. There in Genesis, Adam’s voice subsides, and the voice of Moses concludes,
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Moses’ words become the deep well for the Bible’s teaching on marriage. Jesus himself would quote them as the very Word of God:
5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
The apostle Paul drew from the deep well of Genesis when he concluded his teaching on marriage by again quoting Moses saying:
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Christian Marriage and the Cross
Austin and Erika, in light of Paul’s teaching that marriage evokes the mystery of Christ and the church, you must underand that without the cross, your marriage is not a Christian marriage. Marriage is about dying, because that is what Christ did for His bride:
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Today, as you are joined in marriage, a single man and a single woman will die, and the two of you shall become one flesh. These sacred moments (witnessed by God, the angels, and the church here in festal assembly) mark the end of your former life. Your joyous wedding is the beginning of a sacred death. Christian wedding vows mark the sweet inception of a lifelong death to self, giving over not only all that you have but all that you are. This is a daunting reality, and it is so beautiful - an enduring glory to Christ and his church.
So on this your long awaited wedding day, I challenge you to raise the cross over your lives so that it towers over all because that is what makes your marriage Christian. And, of course, the cross is the road to a particular joy:
25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
May you find your life together ever more full and joyous.
Austin and Erika, life high the cross!
Along with the cross, you must embrace the fact that marriage is not a contractual relationship but a lifelong covenant. it is not a Christian marriage if it’s conditional or contractual. Christian marriage calls for a solemn oath before God - swearing together before him that you will never, ever break you promises. In preparation for this day, I have asked you hard questions about your covenant, and you have affirmed that it is for life, whatever may come.
God is smiling on you on this day of your public covenant before the church and the state. This is so liberating, because your solemn word - “in sickness and in health…to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live, until death do us part” - frees you to work things out through the ups and the downs of life.
Austin and Erika, you have a lifetime to explore and celebrate your oneness! You have the pace to grow because you can always be sure of each other’s commitment.
There is the cross, there is the covenant, and there is the Christ - the grand key to marriage. As beleivers, are married to him for eternity. And because Christ is the center of your lives, he will grace your intimacy as you draw near to him. Temple Gairdner caught it perfectly with this prayer:
That I may come near to her,
draw nearer to thee than to her;
that I may know her,
make me to know thee more than her;
that I may love her with a perfect love…,
cause me to love thee more than her.
Austin and Erika, determine to draw nearer to Christ than to each other, to know him more than one another, so that you will love each other with a perfect love!
Austin and Erika, go to the well of the sixth day.
May you always be dazzled with each other.
May you be amazed that God has given you such a love.
May you plumb the depths and heights of each other’s being.
May every season of life be graced with a deeper love.
May your love grace your families.
May your love grace the church.
May your love grace a needy world.
Life high the cross.
Keep the covenant. Run to Jesus the Christ.