Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wedding Sermon for Miranda Noel Born and Samuel Wyatt Bear



The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
Romans 8:37-39
The Love of Christ
Saturday of Trinity VII, 09 August 2014
Wedding of Miranda Noel Born and Samuel Wyatt Bear
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
Kendrick Mansion

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These verses were chosen by Wyatt and Miranda for this sermon on their wedding day. Romans 8:38 and 39 answer the questions raised in verse 35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
“No” is the answer to the second question. “Nothing” is the answer to the first. Here in Romans 8, Paul talks about nothing.
Nothing is a powerful word. It can be used in interesting ways. For example, “Eating plain rice is better than nothing.” Or, “Nothing is better than a good steak.” Does it make any sense to say, “Eating plain rice is better than a good steak”? No! It makes no logical sense. “Nothing,” appears, to mess us up.
Sometimes we don’t make logical sense either. We worry about nothing. Due to sin, our thinkers don’t think perfectly. We can think things that just aren’t true. We worry about clothes. We worry about what people will think. We worry about what people might have thought. We worry about ill family members and our own health. We worry about popularity. We worry about weight. We worry about relationships. We worry about work and school. We worry about moving. We worry about what we don’t have and why we don’t have it. We worry about money. We worry about being loved. We worry that we worry too much. And we do. We waste valuable prayer time by worrying.
When we worry, the thing we worry about becomes the most important thing in the world. It becomes an idol to us—a false god instead of the true God who loves us. No wonder we’re distracted. We worry about nothing, as if “nothing” were powerful enough to separate us from the love of Christ. St. Paul talks about nothing without ever using the word, “nothing.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Jesus loved us first. Our love of Him and our love for one another are imperfect reflections of His love. A couple in love, married in the eyes of the Lord and of Caesar needs more than their feelings for one another for their relationship to survive. They need a marriage. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote in a wedding sermon, “It is not your love which sustains the marriage, but from now on the marriage that sustains your love.” That is why holy matrimony, the lifelong union of one man and one woman wed only to each other, is still a viable institution in 21st Century America. A marriage is built on commitment love.
Commitment love is what gets couples through the tough times. After all, forgiving each other will make your life together a lot more BEARable, and a lot more enjoyable. You need to be regularly reminded of Christ’s love for you and shown His love.
Paul continues: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is as John Piper writes, “On the cross Christ endured for us all the punishment required of us because of our sin. And in order that God, as our Father, might be completely for us and not against us forever, Christ has performed for us, in his perfect obedience to God, all that God required of us as the ground of his being totally for us forever” (Piper, John. The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007, page 184).
That Gospel empowers our obedience as a response. Of the one whose delight is in the Word of the Lord, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water           that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
We pray for good fruit for you in the Lord, for health, for love, and for prosperity. We rejoice this day, Miranda and Wyatt, in your love for one another. Your Lord does you one better. He loves you. He showed it in a manger, on the cross, and by an empty tomb. He shows it by the absolution—the washing away—of your sins, by Holy Baptism, in the proclamation of His Gospel, and in the delivery of Himself to you in His very Body and Blood for the forgiveness of your sins.
You are loved. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing. Not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword. Nothing. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation. Nothing. Not even the opinions of other people, illness, lack of popularity, relationship challenges, the stress of transitions, or even a new job. You are loved. God showed that love in sending His Son to die for You. He shows you that love now in forgiving you all your sins. He wants you to be certain about His love, no matter how you feel on a given day. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loved us. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.



Psalm 1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
                        nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
                      but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
                      He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
                        that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
                        In all that he does, he prospers.
                      The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
                      Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
                      for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. [1]



[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 1:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wedding Sermon for Eric Richard Scott and Mikel Elizabeth Smith



The Rev. Paul J Cain
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Three Are Better than Two Are Better than One
Seventh Sunday after Trinity, 03 August 2014, 2 p.m.
Wedding of Eric Richard Scott and Mikel Elizabeth Smith
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
Powder Horn Golf Community

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
These verses from Ecclesiastes Chapter four are the sermon text that Eric and Mikel have chosen for their wedding day.
One. One is lonely. One can be lonely in the outdoors, at school, in a residential neighborhood where you don’t know your neighbors, or especially in a busy airport terminal. Such places can be filled with lonely Ones even with people surrounding them.
Two. Two implies a connection—and suppot. Two means that the two don’t just know “of” one another, like the two of you know “of” each other in High School. Two implies a connection like the one you found when you got to talking at Denver International Airport. And you kept in touch. Two are better than one. I saw that when we met together for our premarital counseling sessions. That helped me believe in your relationship and support it by officiating at your wedding. I could see, even over SKYPE for the remainder of our sessions that you two were no longer alone. Eric proposed in Terminal A, the terminal of love at DIA, where they met. They may have been apart after that, but they were not alone. You are Two like the text speaks of.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Three. The two people in Ecclesiastes 4 could be any two friends that lift one another up. In the context of a Christian wedding, the “two” of Ecclesiastes chapter four are a Christian husband and wife. And the “He” behind the Three of the of the “threefold cord” is Jesus Christ our Lord! Three are better than Two!
A couple in love, married in the eyes of the Lord and of Caesar needs more than their feelings for one another for their relationship to survive. They need a marriage. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote in a wedding sermon, “It is not your love which sustains the marriage, but from now on the marriage that sustains your love.” That is why holy matrimony, the lifelong union of one man and one woman wed only to each other, is still a viable institution in 21st Century America. A marriage is built on commitment love.
Commitment love is what gets couples through the tough times. After all, forgiving each other will make your life together a lot more bearable, and a lot more enjoyable. You need to be regularly reminded of Christ’s love for you and shown His love. That is why being united in attending the Sunday Divine Service, actively engaging in Bible study together, and being committed to family devotions are all so important.
There will be dark days when life is not kind, the worst kind of days when two are not enough. Jesus, the third strand of the threefold cord of your Christian marriage, He who was lifted up on the cross of Calvary, lifted up from a tomb and death itself, and lifted up to heaven, is the light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome. Jesus is He who will lift you up. As the hymn says, “But when I think that God, His Son not sparing, Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in—That on the cross my burden gladly bearing He bled and died to take away my sin; Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art!”
A cord of three strands is not easily broken. And a married relationship intertwined with Christ Jesus is not easily broken either, because He forgives you sins and you forgive one another. As you leave this beautiful place of mountain grandeur and reflect on your wedding day, remember this text from Ecclesiastes that you selected. Regularly review it and remember Jesus, who shed His blood to give you life and has joined you this day as husband and wife.
Three are better than two. Two are better than one. Christ is your support in all of life, day by day. He guides you, by grace, to His Gifts of Word and Sacrament. He grants you the gift of faith so that you can trust in that which you do not see. And He died so that you may live and forgive one another as you have already been forgiven in Him till death you do part. Amen.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wedding Sermon for Nicholas John Taylor and Brittany Eileen Camp



The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
Matthew 19:6
God Has Joined
Saturday of Trinity V, 26 July 2014
Wedding of Nicholas John Taylor and Brittany Eileen Camp
Kendrick Mansion
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” This is our text, requested by the Bride and Groom.
What. We are here for a wedding, a marriage, a holy matrimony. A couple in love, married in the eyes of the Lord and of Caesar needs more than their feelings for one another for their relationship to survive. They need a marriage. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote in a wedding sermon, “It is not your love which sustains the marriage, but from now on the marriage that sustains your love.” That is why holy matrimony, the lifelong union of one man and one woman wed only to each other, is still a viable institution in 21st Century America. Things can work out well—even if you break the rules on eHarmony. A marriage is built on commitment love.
Commitment love is what gets couples through the tough times. After all, forgiving each other will make your life together a lot more bearable, and a lot more enjoyable. You need to be regularly reminded of Christ’s love for you and shown His love. That is why being united in attending the Sunday Divine Service, actively engaging in Bible study together, and being committed to family devotions are all so important, even if you temporarily relocate to  Gillette.
God. This word tells us much. In your promises to one another, you promise to live together in the holy estate of matrimony as God ordained it. We are speaking about a divine institution, holy matrimony, not merely “marriage” as redefined by a government or a politically-correct human. You received instruction in what the Bible says about Holy Matrimony, especially Matthew 19, Ephesians 5, and Genesis 2. We aim here in this service to lay a foundation for your life together for 1000 years, as the saying goes, or more accurately, so long as you both shall live in the name of the only God, the Triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Marriage is a model of the Christian life. (TLSB) “God’s people are to live in faith according to His love and will. We spurn that love and will when we disregard the order that pleases God.”
Has Joined Together. The two will become one, even more so than in welding two pieces of metal. The Word the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures use for the unity of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is shared with married couples in the verses that inform Jesus’ words here. The Lord is One. That Oneness is also a gift from the Lord to you as husband and wife.
This unity, this oneness, has consequences on your spiritual life and family life. Your sons are now brothers. A mom is a stepmother and a father is also a stepfather. Boys, honor your father and your mother. And honor your stepfather and stepmother as you would your father and your mother. You are blessed with additional parents, not replacement parents. You are why we included those verses from Ephesians 6. Care for the boys and any other children your Lord blesses you with food, shelter, clothing, and education, yet above all, bring them up in the discipline and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let Not Man Separate. Marriage takes work. The devil, the influence of worldly culture, and your own sinful flesh are fighting against the success of your marriage. You can't do this one your own. Christ who joins you is the one who will sustain you. Marriage is not a Sacrament. Lutherans have two: Baptism and Communion, plus Confession & Absolution. Marriage does not meet the definition of a Lutheran sacrament because it does not deliver the forgiveness of sins. Yet, marriage is like absolution in that it is a fresh start. Cherish that as you cherish one another. Keep working on your relationship. Still date one another. Make your time together special. Love one another as Christ loved you first. Receive His gifts for the benefit of your own body and soul, marriage and family.
God has joined you together. Never let anyone or anything come between the two of you. Never let anyone or anything come between you and Christ. Amen.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wedding Sermon for Mark Bradley Strauch and Keshia Lynn Kjorstad



The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
Song of Solomon 3:1-5
The One Whom My Soul Loves
Saturday of Trinity III, 12 July 2014
Wedding of Mark Bradley Strauch and Keshia Lynn Kjorstad
Meadowlark Ski Resort
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
“I have found the one my soul loves.” That’s part of what the two of you are declaring today, Mark and Keshia. It is amazing where a Mad Gab game night can lead two people.
For your sermon text on your special day, I have chosen a portion of Song of Solomon, Chapter 3, verses 1-5. This is the text of The Bride’s Dream. She says: 3 On my bed by night sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not.
At first hearing, it sounds like the frustration we all may have felt searching for the one we would one day marry. That’s not what this text is about. This is a memory from the days when they were dating. She already knows him. They’re “together,” we would say. And he just won’t answer his phone, email, or the texts she’s been sending him. So, she starts actively looking for him: 2 I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not.
Round two also ends in frustration. The city guards make an appearance in her search for Solomon: 3 The watchmen found me as they went about in the city. “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go…
Do you know the feeling? Just after you ask for help in finding the thing or the person you can’t find, you find it almost right away by yourself.
Do you know the other feeling? Based on our experiences, we can also identify with this woman’s care and concern and deep feeling of love. It’s a new love, fresh and strong and passionate. She was active in her search. Her love story predates the unfortunate “unrequited love” tradition of Western Civilization where somebody pines for somebody else for a distance, never or rarely saying a word to the other person. How is that love? There is no action for the benefit of the other person. It’s just selfish, unfulfilled emotion.
Please notice the most important thing about her search: she went out and did something to show her love for her man. Holy Scripture uses the word love in a very active sense. Yes, it is an emotion, yet is always in action, just like faith in Christ.
A couple in love, married in the eyes of the Lord and of Caesar needs more than their feelings for one another for their relationship to survive. They need a marriage. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote in a wedding sermon, “It is not your love which sustains the marriage, but from now on the marriage that sustains your love.” That is why holy matrimony, the lifelong union of one man and one woman wed only to each other, is still a viable institution in 21st Century America. A marriage is built on commitment love.
Commitment love is what gets couples through the tough times. After all, forgiving each other will make your life together a lot more bearable, and a lot more enjoyable. You need to be regularly reminded of Christ’s love for you and shown His love. That is why being united in attending the Sunday Divine Service, actively engaging in Bible study together, and being committed to family devotions are all so important.
Let’s return to the bride remembering her courtship in anticipation of her wedding day: “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
The families of both the bride and groom (TLSB) both “play a supportive role in their marriage (cf 3:6–11; 8:1–2, 5).” And you are given to be blessings to one another. Verse five concludes our text: .5 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.
Thanks be to God the time of waiting is over! You are given to delight in one another. That is why you and your family and friends will hear “You may kiss the bride” at the end of this service.
Verse five puts people under a vow, an oath. In holy matrimony, a husband and wife promise to actively love one another in all aspects of life. They are true partners, helpmeets, with roles that complement one another.
All of this happens before Solomon says a word in chapter three, a flashback to their time of courtship, a (TSLB) “longing for their wedding and its consummation. The Church father Bede compared the searching of the Shulammite [woman, Solomon’s bride,] with Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb while it was still dark, searching for the Christ (Jn 20:1, 11–18)”. So too with us.
Marriage is a model of the Christian life. (TLSB) “God’s people are to live in faith according to His love and will. We spurn that love and will when we disregard the order that pleases God.”
When you find the one your soul loves, you never want to let her go. Right, Mark? That phrase is an expression of deep communion, intimate fellowship, lifelong dedication.
And that is what Christ has given to you. You love one another because He loved you first. Mark, you will be a good example to your wife as a Christian, a Christian man, Christian husband, and Christian head of household. Keshia, you truly hunger and thirst for God’s truth and righteousness. I very much look forward to your Baptism day and welcoming you both to your Church home together.
You have each found the one whom your soul loves. You have found that in one another in this life, till death you do part.
More importantly, You have found Him whom your soul loves for time and eternity. To be more precise, He has found you, even Jesus Christ our Lord, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, the heavenly Bridegroom of His Bride the Holy Christian Church, of which you both are part. His love for you, like His holy Word, is living and active. He was born for you, lived for you, taught, preached, and healed for you, was crucified, died, and was raised for your and your salvation, forgiveness and life now, and to dwell with Him forever in the mansions of heaven.
Never let one another go. And never let go of Christ, for He loves you. Amen.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.