Friday, November 02, 2007

Sermon: Wedding of Wade and Ivonne Stoner

3 November 2007 at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX
Text: Gen 2:7, 18-24

In the name of + Jesus. Amen.

Wade, Ivonne, friends, family, guests.

The matrimonial union that we witness today is only the latest manifestation of the most ancient institution on the planet. Marriage even predates mankind’s fall into sin. The first wedding was itself wedded to the creation of the world.

For God created all things, every form of life, every creature under heaven, and created man as the pinnacle of that creation. And yet, the man’s life remained incomplete. Using flesh from the man, God created another human – which was something skeptics scoffed at until science caught up with the Scriptures and envisioned cloning. The woman was a perfect match for the man, herself created in God’s image, and uniquely qualified to make the man’s life complete. And likewise, the man made the woman’s life complete.

The primary reason for married life, according to our reading, is the alleviation of loneliness. For God pronounced all creation good – except for the man without the woman. “It is not good” says God “that the man should be alone.” For not even God is alone, as His Triune nature demonstrates. God is love, and His threeness in oneness makes love possible. But the solitary man – even in this Edenic paradise – was lonely.

But the creation of the woman was the completion of the man’s joy: “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. The man was now whole – as the two became “one flesh.” Within this oneness, there is also a twoness that enables both persons to be lover and beloved. This is a little hint of the mystery of the Trinity. It is also a hint of the mystery of Jesus Christ – the bridegroom of the Church He loves by laying down His life.

Thus there is another lesson married life teaches us. It teaches us that love is unselfish. For the lover will do anything and everything for the beloved. And growing out of married love, new creatures are begotten. Children are conceived, given birth, nurtured, and raised to maturity. Through marriage, God continues His wondrous work of creation, using His creatures created in His image to do it.

By the design of the Father, the man becomes a father as well, and the woman likewise becomes a mother. The “one flesh” of the married couple becomes a dim reflection of the Trinity – the Creator and Nurturer of life.

It is for this reason that the Church describes Holy Matrimony as a “sacrament.” It is a flesh-and-blood sign of a divine reality. It is the miraculous manifestation of the Holy Trinity – even in our fallen and sinful state.

Married life is a glimpse of life in Eden, a paradise in which love brings unity out of multiplicity, and new life out of the one flesh that has been commanded by God to be fruitful and multiply.

Though we are imperfect, marriage itself remains what God intended it to be. It is a reminder of paradise.

Wade and Ivonne, welcome to this glimpse of Eden. Thanks be to God, now and for all eternity. Amen.

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

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