I recently married my best friend….to his fiance. I am, in fact, licensed by the State of Missouri to do such things, and, no, I did not become licensed online. I am legit.
Moving on. Most wedding sermons, as we know, are filled with good, practical advice. The pastor’s own wedding or married life will inevitably come up somewhere in the sermon. Though it’s in a church, the only “God-connection” is that the couple can now have wild sex and not feel guilty about it.
As an unmarried person, I am very limited in how much ‘practical advice’ I can give in a wedding sermon. I would sound quite strange if I tried: “Dearly beloved, my hypothetical wife and I were recently talking about our wedding…”
With the help of a close friend, I crafted the following sermon for my best friend and his lovely bride. Today is their one month anniversary.
If you are asking yourself, “Why am I in a church?” Or, “Why is he holding a bible?”, the answer is that faith and marriage are tightly linked. In fact, the Christian bible both begins and ends with a wedding ceremony.
In the first book of the bible, God joins Adam and Eve together. God gives them his blessing to be fruitful and multiply. God marries them.
For those who have read the story, the marriage of Adam and Eve is not an outstanding example of selfless love. Very quickly, sin destroys their communion with each other and with God. Their children certainly didn’t get along swimmingly. We wish they had done a better job at marriage, but, when we look at ourselves with honesty, we realize we share that same selfish drive – called sin.
This puts us in a very dependent situation. We humans need help with what seems so simple.
The story of the bible is the story of God interceding, becoming a part of, the complicated things like relationships and family.
Like a good parent, he knows that giving us another task, another directive, is going to overwhelm us. Telling us one more thing to do is pointless. We need better nourishment.
Then suddenly, God surprises everyone by making us a promise signed and sealed by his work – not ours. And this changes everything, because God’s promises always come true.
This means that the only promises of ours that matter, are the ones nestled firmly in the promise that God has already made for us.
This promise is the marriage that resolves the story of the Bible.
Our hope is in the marriage of Christ and, his bride, the church.
Romans 5:8 says: God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This verse summarizes Christ’s relationship with his bride – the church – those who believe the gospel. While we were at our worst, Christ gave us his best.
This verse also struck me because of its stark honesty about our imperfection; an honesty that is part of Derek and Emily’s relationship. They each know they are not without flaws. They each know they need Jesus.
The bible assures us that Christ won’t abandon his Children. His steadfast loves endures forever.
Because we know this, we can give ourselves freely to another person, without fear of abandonment.
Emily, the gospel is true, you have been made whole by Jesus, set free. In Christ, God promises never to abandon you. In your weakness, His steadfast love endures.
Derek, remind her of that daily, so that her love for you will be free and not forced.
Derek, the gospel is true, you have been made whole by Jesus, set free. In Christ, God promises never to abandon you. In your weakness, His steadfast love endures.
Emily, remind him of that daily, so that his love for you will be free and not forced.
St. Paul says for freedom Christ has set us free. It is this freedom that will hold your marriage together. It is this freedom that will compel you to find deeper and deeper joy as the years pass by with each other.
Then came the formal stuff. Congratulations on one month, Derek and Emily!