Sermon: The Sacred Union of Kyle Nicolas Gray & Erica Renee Hansen

Ceremony: 4.2.2011

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God was not kidding: It really was and is “not good that man should be alone.” This was the very first “not good” of His perfect creation. Not that the male, Adam, was created evil, he was not, He was perfect and without sin. But he was not complete; something was missing.

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

God made woman from man and for man. A man without a woman is not good. And man with his woman is good; in fact, it was not just “good” (like the rest of creation); it was all very good.

[Reflecting upon the creation of the woman, 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."

At last! Finally! I am complete! Humanity now bears the image of God: the man can now love someone like himself. He can give himself, care and protect and nurture another, guide, instruct and inspire another. And that's Perfect! It is very good!

Until he failed. He failed to protect and guide and instruct, and he let the woman fall. He failed to love, he failed to take responsibility, he failed at being man. And sin entered the world. The woman ate first, and the man followed, the Order of Creation, fell into disorder, Satan won the day.

And so it is today. The tempter still tempts and tricks and causes all kinds of perversity to the “very good” Order of Creation. The most basic of human relationships, the marriage relationship, is infected with all kinds of evil in our day: homosexuality, polygamy, fights and frustrations leading to divorce. These things are “not good”, for they cause man to be alone again, and the woman, the helper, to be without a man to protect and guide her, for a man to help. These things are not natural, they are evil, they are the calculated works of Satan.

For this reason, the preaching of repentance and forgiveness belongs in a wedding homily perhaps more than any other occasion, for the life of the man and his wife is a life of living in the forgiveness of sins / continually. First to God, and then also to one another.

How often we have all despised and rejected the “very good” order and blessing of marriage. Repent. Consider your place in life and how you have lived as if God and His will did not matter. Consider how you have lived only for yourself and neglected the riches and protection of God's created order. Repent. And live in that repentance, in the forgiveness of sins. With God, there are fresh starts; His forgiveness makes you a new creation, gives you a fresh start in your marriage, or in whatever your current place in life is. Just as He promised to Adam and Eve after they sinned, so He promises to you: Jesus, the Savior, has taken your sins upon Himself on the cross, even your sins against your spouse. You are forgiven in Him.

And so, creation being restored in Christ, God has given us a renewed picture of the marriage relationship. The picture is of Christ and His Church, as we heard from St Paul's letter to the Ephesians. It's radical, but so is Christ and His cross. It's not popular and it causes offense, but so does Christ and His cross.

St Paul writes, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior...Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

God was not kidding. The picture of a man and his wife is the picture of Christ and His Bride, the Church. And it looks like this:

The marriage relationship (and every single thing about that relationship) is under the headship, the responsibility, the authority and leadership of the man. It is the man's responsibility, therefore, that the dishes are done, that the taxes get filed, that the children are taught the Catechism, that the members of the household are safe and have clothes and enough food; it is his responsibility that his daughter's find suitable husbands and his sons resist the adulterer / and also become men themselves. It is an unChristian idea that one thing is a man's responsibility, and another thing is a woman's. God was not kidding, a marriage of one man and one woman is like the eternal marriage of Christ Jesus, the Savior, and His bride, the Church, the saved, and what of salvation is left for the Bride, the Church, to accomplish? What is the Bride's responsibility in the forgiveness of sins? Nothing; except to receive the blessings. Christ is the Head of the Church, therefore every single thing about that relationship is under His headship, His responsibility, His authority and leadership. So it is with the man and his wife.

But this is not conventional, this is completely unacceptable in our time, in our culture. So be it. God and His people are not concerned about being acceptable to the ever-changing morality of the enemy-world. We, the Bride of Christ, follow the leadership of our Head, our Lord Christ, whose example we take when He prayed to the Father, “Thy will be done.” Not the world's, not even His own, but the Father's will be done. That's submission! Not inferiority, Jesus is not inferior to the Father; Jesus was submissive: He allowed Himself to be guided, guarded, cared for, loved by the Father.

This loving-submitting relationship is, in fact, simple, it is straight-forward, / but it is also hard. Love is tough, because love is a sacrifice. Love is not an emotion. Your emotions for each other, Kyle and Erica, will rise and fall, but your love will be steady, for it is a love fashioned in heaven before God this day. God is about to do something that human beings are completely unable to do. He is making you “one flesh.” You are entering into this same loving-submitting relationship.

Kyle, you are leaving your mother and father and being given the responsibility of the life and well-being of others. God is giving you authority over His beloved children, Erica and Cody, to love them: guide, protect, instruct, and inspire them even as Christ loves you. The power to do this comes from your relationship with Christ Jesus, who is the Headship over the man, as St Paul says, He is your authority, your Lord. So, you do not have to worry about your own needs, because Christ will always provide. You pray, “Thy will be done,” and leave your concerns up to God. You move forward today (and for the rest of your life) as a servant of your bride and son, even as Christ continues to serve you. And do not neglect your relationship with Christ: be loved by Him, submit to Him, receive His care and protection, nourishment, guidance and instruction as often as you can. Begin your day listening to Him by receiving Him in the blessed Sacrament or reading His Word in Sacred Scripture. This I urge you to do because times will get tough. Sacrificing yourself is not easy, it is contrary to the old sinful nature, but sacrificing is what makes a man, a man. Have courage, therefore, living in the forgiveness of sins.

Erica, you too must have courage, the right kind of courage, courage that flows from the freedom and confidence you have in the the forgiveness of your sins in Christ Jesus, your Savior. You are submitting to your man, your Head, your authority, as the Church submits to Christ, Her Savior. This is full submission, everything you have, everything you are is transferred into the care of this man; what was under the authority and guidance and care and protection of your father, he is turning over to another, this man, Kyle, whom you love and will continue to love with all your heart, mind and soul. And he needs your help. His task is more than he can bear on his own. That is why our Lord is blessing him with you, a very good and godly wife.

He needs your trust and respect. He needs you to understand that his main goal in life is to bless you. Be always eager to receive His blessing. Pray for him, help him, be his bride, as the Church is the Bride of Jesus. And keep in mind that, more than anything else, he wants to see you in heaven in eternity. Until then, he will be sacrificing for you and your child (or children, if that is the Lord's will). His sacrificing, his protecting and guarding is for the purpose of freeing you from worry about these things so that you may fulfill your vocations as first wife, then mother, then whatever else our Lord may call you to do. Today, our Lord is increasing your freedom in Him, under his servant and yours, Kyle.

And finally, to the both of you: our Lord is so very pleased with you. You are forgiven and free in Him, in the Blood of His Son, Jesus. He is bringing you together for the high and holy purpose of being family, and it is very good. The Holy Trinity is at work today and will remain at work in your marriage. The Father provides all you need to support this body and life, your physical needs will be taken care of according to His good and gracious will. The Son provides all you need for your spiritual lives; you receive the benefits of His death on the cross in the Sacrament. And the Holy Spirit gives you the motivation and power to love and to submit, even as God is love and Jesus fully submitted to the Father for your sake.

God is pleased, be at peace, receive this work of the Lord today with joy and thanksgiving.

In +Jesus' name. Amen.

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