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+ Wedding + Alan Smith and Suzie Halftown

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Ephesians 5:1-2; 22-33

James T. Batchelor

First Sunday after Christmas, series C
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church  
Hoopeston, IL

view DOC file

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 

Alan Suzie Today is your wedding day.  Alan in years to come this date will be your wedding anniversary.  Remember that!

It is also the Twelfth Day of Christmas.  According to the song, this is the day when our true love gives us twelve drummers drumming.  What most people do not know is that everything in the song represents a gift that God gives to us.  The twelve drummers drumming are the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed.  The special treatment of the five gold rings is especially important because they represent the five wounds that Jesus received on the cross.  The partridge in the pear tree is Jesus crucified for us.  The True Love who does all the giving in this song is God Himself.  Even this simple song reminds us that Christmas is not just about a little baby in a manger, but it is about all the gifts that that baby would earn for us with His perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection.

So it is with all aspects of the Christian life.  Everything we do, everything we are, everything we have begins with the True Love who is the giver in the Twelve Days of Christmas - the God who sent His beloved Son to be a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

So it is with marriage.  In the Epistle that Alan and Suzie chose for this day, the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."  Here the Holy Spirit speaks through the Apostle Paul and tells us that husbands are to follow the example of the True Love of the Twelve Days of Christmas and be ready to sacrifice their very lives so that their wives can be the best that they can be.  Husbands are to be ready to become Partridges in Pear Trees if that is what is in the best interests of their wives.  Husbands are to be willing to endure the suffering and death of the cross if that is what is what their wives need.

The Holy Spirit also spoke through Paul regarding the role of the wife: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  Eww!  There's that submit word.  What are we going to do with that word, submit.  Wives, if you knew beyond the shadow of any doubt that your husband was dedicating his life to making you the best that you could be, would you really have a problem submitting to him?  When you think about it that way, that word "submit" doesn't sound so terrible, does it?

So!  Husbands, how's it goin'?  Are you sacrificing for your wives as Christ sacrificed Himself for the church?  How about you wives?  Are you submitting to your husbands as to the Lord?

Alan Suzie I know that on this day, you desire to live according to the Words that the Holy Spirit gave to Paul.  I also know that the two of you are wise enough to know that, as much as you want to live according to these words, you will not be able to pull it off.  No human couple has ever been able to keep these words.  God set Adam and Eve up in a romantic, eternal, honeymoon garden, and even Adam and Eve "threw each other under the bus."  And couples have been doing that ever since.  That is the reason that the theme that you two have chosen for your wedding is so important.

You chose today's Old Testament reading from the inspired words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes.  Then you chose the last phrase of that proverb as your theme: A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

With this theme, you wish to remind all people that a Christian marriage is not just an arrangement between two people.  A Christian marriage receives its strength from the fact that it is a relationship between three people: the husband, the wife, and Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the third strand that holds a marriage together when the husband does not sacrifice.  Jesus Christ is the strand that holds the marriage together when the wife does not submit.  A threefold cord is not quickly broken. 

When Jesus Christ is the third strand in a marriage, He brings the gift that is the most precious of all.  He brings the gift of forgiveness.  This is the gift that every marriage needs the most.  Jesus earned that forgiveness long ago as He sacrificed Himself for you on the cross.  He certified that forgiveness long ago as He rose from the dead.  With that sacrifice, He took away all your sins.  He has made you holy in His sight.

So it is, Alan, that when you are not ready to sacrifice for Suzie as Christ sacrificed for the church, Jesus forgives you.  He makes you holy.  He says to you, "My child, I forgive you.  I have taken your sin away.  Even though you have sinned, in my eyes, you are still a caring and sacrificing husband."

So it is, Suzie, that when you are not ready to submit to Alan as to the Lord, Jesus forgives you.  He makes you holy.  He says to you, "My child, I forgive you.  I have taken your sin away.  Even though you have sinned, in my eyes, you are still a caring and honoring wife."

The wonderful thing about this forgiveness is that it is not limited.  Jesus describes His generosity with these words: He said, [Luke 6:38] "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap."  When Jesus gives forgiveness, not only is there enough for us, but there is also more than enough for us to share with others.  He not only gives us the gift of forgiveness, but He also gives forgiveness to us so that we can forgive others.

Just as Jesus forgives you, He also gives you the ability to forgive each other.  This is an incredible gift.  Forgiveness gives you the power to say, "I love you.  I forgive you.  You are still my noble wife, my noble husband."  The forgiveness that Christ gives to you and the forgiveness that Christ gives through you will give you the strength to face whatever comes your way.  This is the gift that Jesus gives to you as you begin your marriage in His presence today.

So, on this twelfth day of Christmas, the Partridge in the Pear Tree takes His place as the third strand to make your marriage strong with the gift of eternal forgiveness.  It is His joy to give you the forgiveness that He earned for you with His death on the cross.  It is His desire to work through you to give the gift of forgiveness to each other.  As you come together on this day to begin your life together as husband and wife, Jesus joins you as the third strand to bring all His gifts into your life together.  This is His gift to you and to all who believe in Him.  Amen

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