15 July 2008

Homily - Wedding

The Lamb’s Wedding
Revelation 19:6-9
12 July 2008

John and Devon, what a great day for the two of you. As God designed from the beginning, the two of you are becoming one flesh for life. As our Lord Jesus taught, when the two become one flesh, let no one—absolutely no one, including either of you—separate them. When the two of you are joined together in flesh here today, God means for that union to last for life.

You have chosen a most interesting Epistle reading for today. Normally we hear from Ephesians 5, about wives submitting to their husbands as the Church does to Christ and about husbands sacrificing themselves for their wives as Christ does for His Church. But you have chosen to transport us to the end of time with a reading on the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

In Revelation 19 St. John the Apostle heard the voice of a great multitude. That noise of the crowd sounded to him like “the roar of many waters” and “the sound of mighty peals of thunder” (kind of like we had last night, after the rehearsal! ☺). What was this crowd gathered for? A most majestic wedding: the wedding and marriage supper of Jesus and His Bride the Church! It will be the most majestic wedding ever seen. It will make even the most regal weddings, like that of Princess Di many years ago, look like child’s play.

Yet, John and Devon, you get to be a picture of this very marriage between Christ and His Bride the Church. Yes, as you stand here today, and as you live your marriage for the years to come, you get to give the rest of us a glimpse of the perfect marriage between Jesus and His Church. Now that’s a tall order. Do you think you’re up to the challenge?

At first you may think that you’re not quite up to that challenge. After all, each of you knows your weaknesses and your faults and foibles, even some weakness and foibles of each other, with more sure to come as you grow together through the years. But even with those weaknesses, faults, foibles, and sins, you will still show us the love of Christ for His bride, the Church. You see, your Lord Jesus loved you and His whole Church by sacrificing Himself—becoming the Lamb of God who takes away your sins and the sins of the world.

You, Devon and John, will get to sacrifice yourselves for each other in much the same way. You will get to sacrifice your individual wants and desires in order to do what’s best for the other person and even the marriage itself. You will get plenty of opportunities to love each other by putting the other person before yourself. And when you don’t do that quite so well—when each of you gets caught thinking about self and letting the other person down—then you will get to practice forgiveness. And it’s the very forgiveness that your Lord Jesus has given you in His blood shed from the cross.

And because of that blood of Jesus the Lamb, the two of you will get to show us what life in His Church is all about. Our reading says that the “Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.” What a beautiful sight! And what was that linen? “The fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” Those righteous deeds come from the Righteous One Himself. But you, Devon and John, get to show a life of living in His righteous deeds as you faithfully attend the Divine Service, as you partake week in and week out of His Supper called Communion. You see, it’s from the Communion that you learn to love and forgive each other, just as your Lord has forgiven and loves you.

So, yes, today we join with the great crowd in Revelation. By gathering in God’s House, we cry out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” He reigns now, as the two of you become one flesh. After all, it’s His plan and design. But He will also reign from this point forward, as the two of you learn to love and forgive each other even as He has loved and forgiven you. So, in your union with each other and with your Lord, you are showing us the great marriage mystery of Jesus and His Church. Amen.

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