Rev. Paul J Cain
Rejoice Over You
Second Sunday after the Epiphany, 20 January 2013
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
In the Name of Jesus. Amen
About the Cover: The Lord loves weddings. They picture His relationship to His people—not only His commitment to them, but above all His delight in them. “My Delight Is in Her” literally becomes His people’s name, the Lord’s way of reminding His Bride, the Church, that we are His very own, the objects of His eternal love.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
The Lord acts on behalf of the Bride, His Church, for whom He was willing to die. His love for us is not merely emotion. His love is shown in His deeds of sacrifice, summons, and salvation. He wants you to wear white. A baptismal gown, an acolytes robe, a pastor’s alb or surplice, a bride’s gown, and the white funeral pall over a Christian’s casket all preach the white robe of Christ’s righteousness that covers all our sin. All. The Lord speaks His Word and pronounces the forgiveness of sins until the righteousness of Christ given to you “goes forth as brightness,” and your “salvation as a burning torch.” You are salt and light wearing white.
You, by faith, are of His Holy People, the new Israel of Jews and Gentiles with faith in Jesus, the Son, our Heavenly Bridegroom. The prophecy of Isaiah 62 was for Zion’s sake, for Jerusalem’s sake. And now is for your sake. And for the sake of God’s ancient people who enjoy salvation and righteousness in Christ. This was God’s intended purpose!
The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.
Did you hear yourself mentioned in this verse? You are—you were—part of “the nations,” those outside of Zion, Jerusalem, Israel. The Lord blessed Israel so that he and all called by his name would be a blessing to the nations surrounding him and them. You are called by a new name. You have been blessed in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You are the Lord’s own. You are a Christian, a little Christ. And many of you were first officially named in the rite of Holy Baptism. More names are to come!
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her [Hephzibah], and your land Married [Beulah]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.
No longer are you forsaken or desolate. You are in Christ. You will never be truly alone, for He dwells with you. He is with you always, even to the end of all things and beyond. He has promised to be present in His Holy Supper, the foretaste of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom. He is with two or three gathered in His Name. The Lord’s delight is in you, Hephzibah, for that is the Hebrew of “My Delight Is in Her” as “Beulah” is Hebrew for “Married.” You are His and He is yours, not merely for as long as the both of you shall live, but forevermore.
For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
God, the Lord, rejoices over you. He wants good things for you. He wishes to shower you with the blessings of His Word.
Unfortunately, not all want the Lord’s blessings, His salvation, or His righteousness. Not all wish to have Holy Matrimony as the Lord invented it. Marriage is under attack, not merely when Christians sin against the Sixth Commandment, not only in fornication, divorce, and immorality, not only in adultery, which is a form of idolatry, the sin against the First Commandment to have “no other gods” than the Lord. Marriage is under siege by our culture.
At our Wyoming District Pastoral Conference last fall, President Boche recommended that every congregation in the Wyoming District of the LCMS adopt a resolution regarding marriage. What I read next is an example of just such a resolution to present to the Voters Assembly of Immanuel.
SUBJECT: To adopt a Biblically based marriage resolution for Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, WY (“Congregation”), a member congregation of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
WHEREAS: Some states in our United States of America have passed, or are considering passing, laws that allow same-sex “marriages”, AND
WHEREAS: There is much confusion in our society today about the difference between marriage as a civil institution recognized by the government and marriage as a religious institution recognizing a holy union recognized by the church; AND
WHEREAS: We believe that the whole Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God, completely without error, and the sole source and norm for Christian living, AND
WHEREAS, The Bible states, and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod believes, that marriage is a sacred union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24-25), and that God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Eph. 5:32); therefore be it
RESOLVED: That we thank God for His clearly mandated guidelines on marriage contained in Holy Scripture, AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED: That all weddings held at this Congregation will be the marriage and wedding of one man and one woman in accordance with Holy Scripture, AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED: That because of the separation of powers (the kingdom of the left and the kingdom of the right), this Congregation will adhere to and practice its religious beliefs, and, pursuant to its rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, will reject any and all political or civil mandates to perform same-sex “marriages” within the Congregation’s sanctuary or on its property, AND LET IT FINALLY BE
RESOLVED: That the pastors of this Congregation are prohibited from participating in or performing any same-sex marriages, even if they are held at a site other than the property of this Congregation.
Why must we be so bold and clear? Isaiah has proclaimed: For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
LSB 275: [Holy Matrimony] is an honorable estate instituted and blessed by God in Paradise, before humanity's fall into sin.
In marriage we see a picture of the communion between Christ and His bride, the Church. Our Lord blessed and honored marriage with his presence and first miracle at Cana in Galilee. This estate is also commended to us by the apostle Paul as good and honorable. Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into inadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.
The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for the mutual companionship, help, and support that each person ought to receive from the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Marriage was also ordained so that man and woman may find delight in one another. Therefore, all persons who marry shall take a spouse in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust, for God has not called us to impurity but in holiness. God also established marriage for the procreation of children who are to be brought up in the fear and instruction of the Lord so that they may offer Him their praise.
Our Lord Jesus said, (LSB 277) What God has joined together, let no one put asunder [Matthew 19:6]. The Church may also truthfully proclaim and profess: What God has not joined together, let no one falsely join together in His name.
Yes, we are given to practice and proclaim the holy estate of matrimony as God ordained it (LSB 276), yet we are also given to provide truthful and loving pastoral care to all caught up in sexual sin, homosexual or heterosexual. The love of Christ covers a multitude of sins. We dare not stigmatize (or ignore one) compared to others. The Lord desires to rejoice over you. The Lord cannot bless sin and neither can a pastor or the Church. Sin separates us from God. God in Christ took your sin up at His baptism in the Jordan and bore it on the cross of Calvary for you and your salvation, defeating the devil, death and sin once and for all.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.
No longer are you forsaken or desolate. You are in Christ. You will never be truly alone, for He dwells with you. He is with you always, even to the end of all things and beyond. He has promised to be present in His Holy Supper, the foretaste of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom. He is with two or three gathered in His Name. The Lord’s delight is in you, for You are His and He is yours forevermore.
….As as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.