Cruce Tectum

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

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Saturday, November 07, 2009

VanderBaan/ Spray Wedding

Wedding of Jack VanderBaan and Vivienne Pearl Spray
November 7, 2009

I.N.I.

Text: John 15:9-12

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

Love, the love that Christians are to have for one another, has its origin not in the human heart, but in God. Jesus says to His disciples, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12; ESV). “As I have loved you,” Jesus says. And Jesus loves as the Father has loved Him. The love of the Father for the Son from all eternity is manifest for humanity in the person of Jesus. The love of the Father for the Son is poured out for all humanity on the cross. In and by the blood of Love incarnate, our Lord Jesus Christ, the blood-bought people of God love one another. The love of Christians for one another and for the world has its origin in God Himself. Love flows from God through the flesh and blood of Jesus to His Christians, and through His Christians to the neighbor.

Love must have its origin in God if it is to be real love. It cannot have its origin in us. Because we are fallen. We are sinners. This is the problem that even two seasoned veterans of life and of marriage like you, Jack and Vivienne, will have to face head on. I hate to break it to you, but each of you is marrying a sinner this evening. As sweet as you both are, you are both children of Adam and Eve, and that means you have inherited their sinful condition. Sin is the opposite of all things love, as we heard of it in our second reading. Unlike love, sin is envious, boastful, arrogant, and rude. Sin does insist on its own way. Sin is irritable and resentful, rejoicing in wrongdoing. And these are the things that have their origin in this fallen flesh. Jesus reminds us, “from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). Notice that love is not in that list. Rather, all the things that are opposed to love proceed from the human heart.

How different is the love of God. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Christ died for our sinful hearts. Christ died for all the evil thoughts and actions just described. Christ died for you, Jack and Vivienne, and for every person here present, and for all people. Christ died for the forgiveness of your sins, for your eternal life, and salvation. And He is risen. He is risen to sustain you in that love, that you might abide in that love in this earthly life and for all eternity.

You do that by returning to the cross again and again. And the only way you can return to the cross is in the Word of God and the Sacrament. As husband and wife, come often to hear the preaching of the Word, be absolved of your sins, and receive Christ’s true body and blood in your mouths. That is what it means to abide in Jesus’ love. And abiding in His love, being immersed in the love that has its origin in God, being forgiven of all your sins, you will begin to keep the commandment to love one another, to forgive one another, to sacrifice yourselves for one another and for your fellow Christians and for the world, as the cruciform love of Christ flows to you and through you.

What a gift God has given this day, a man and a woman, in rather unlikely circumstances, joined in Holy Matrimony. The two become one flesh. You are united by this cruciform love of Christ. May our Lord Jesus keep you by His Spirit in His love, the love of the Father for the Son, the love of God for you. He alone can do it. He is faithful. His love for you compels Him to bring to completion this good work which He has begun in you. All thanks and praise be to Him. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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