Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Brinker/Baier Wedding

Wedding of Heath Christopher Brinker and Jennifer Delora Baier
August 29, 2009

I.N.I.

Text: John 15:9-12

Heath, Jenni, Beloved in the Lord: Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The word “love” as it is used in our language and culture is utterly meaningless. I can say, “I love my wife” with one breath, and with the very next declare my love for pepperoni pizza. Clearly the two are not the same. In our text this evening, however, Jesus gives meaning to love as Christians should understand it. It is the love of God the Father for the Son, a love that human beings cannot even begin to grasp outside of Christ. It is the love of our Lord Jesus Christ with which He loves us. God so loved the world, loved you and me and all people, in this manner: He gave His only-begotten Son, gave Him into the death of the cross, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Only in Christ, only united to Christ by faith, only baptized into Christ, can you make a beginning of such love in this fallen flesh. The great mystery of love as Jesus speaks of it is that fallen sinners, like you and me, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, begin to love one another with this love. Never perfectly in this life, mind you. We can’t. We’re fallen. We’re sinners. But as branches that grow from a vine, so Christians grow from Jesus Christ. Apart from the vine, we can do nothing. We cannot love apart from the vine. We can lust, which is always sinful. We can like and love for selfish ends. But only in Christ, connected to Him with His life giving Word and the Sacrament of His body and blood to nourish us, can we ever begin to love self-sacrificially, as Jesus loves us. And only that is real love. It is real because it does not originate in us. It is given by God, generated by the Spirit, who works in us to will and to work according to His good pleasure.

When you abide in Christ, and Christ abides in you, then you can love one another. Notice how this works in our text. Jesus bids His disciples to abide in His love. And it is on the basis of abiding in His love, abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ, that Jesus gives a new command that His disciples love one another. As I have loved you, says Jesus, so love one another. Love flows from God, through you, and to your neighbor. Love flows from God, through you, to your spouse. So it works in the Christian family. So it works in the Christian Church. So it works as Christians take that love into the world, confessing Christ in word and deed.

Heath and Jenni, you wish to establish a Christian family, a Christian home. You would not begin your marriage in the holy Church otherwise. This is to say that in your one flesh union, you wish to abide in Christ. How do you do that? Abide in His Word. Abide in His body and blood. Relish His Absolution. Remain in His bride, the Church, which He bought with His own blood. Receive His gifts. And His love will flow to you in abundance, to the overflowing, so that it flows through you in inexhaustible supply, to one another, to your children God-willing, to the neighbor. Our crucified and risen Lord takes great joy in you! In Him, your joy is made complete.

What sets Christian marriage, your marriage, apart from other marriages, is not the union of man and woman in and of itself. Civil weddings are just as much marriage before God as Church weddings. What sets Christian marriage, your marriage apart, is that it is sanctified now by the Word of God and by prayer. Your wedding is a confession of faith to all here present, and to many more who are not. It is a confession of the love of Christ, a cruciform love, the love that saves you and all the world, the love in which you both abide forever, and in which you will abide together as long as long as you both shall live, till death do you part. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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