The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
God Has Joined
Saturday of Trinity V, 26 July 2014
Wedding of Nicholas John Taylor and Brittany Eileen Camp
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.