God's rich grace and mercy be with you, Paul and Wendy, and to you, their family and friends.
Today the Apostle Paul counsels you to walk in love. He wants all of your life to be love. But the world's love is not to be your pattern. The world's love seeks only its own advantage. The world loves only so long as it gains from it. You must instead love the way Christ loved, who was seeking neither pleasure nor gain in return. He gave Himself for us as a sacrifice and offering to reconcile God to us, so that He could be our God and we His children. Besides this, He daily gives out many other blessings more than we can count.
You should imitate God in this way. You must be occupied with no other thought than how you can serve each other, and how your life can be made to help your spouse. For in the same way, Christ has given Himself to you, and has become yours, and has given you all things.
How then will you as husband and wife love one another?
Wendy, you will love Paul as the Church loves her dear Lord, Christ Jesus. The Church displays this love in submission and obedience. In the same way, wives are to be in submission to their husbands. This does not mean a kind of slavish obedience under a tyrant. But instead, you, as an equal partner with your husband, are to voluntarily yield to him.
In the same way, the Church fears God, yet not with a cringing fear that thinks the Lord is out to get us. Instead, the Church deeply and reverently respects her Bridegroom. Similarly, Wendy, you should respect your husband.
So allow Paul to be your head, and follow his lead, trusting that he will not be a cruel master, but a loving husband.
Perhaps he will not always live up to that kind of a standard. Yet treat him as the head nevertheless. Set him up in your mind as the ideal husband, ignoring his faults. For in the same way the Church looks upon her beloved Savior and Bridegroom. Although Paul is not completely holy and sinless as Christ is, yet you should forget Paul's errors and lift up his better qualities.
Paul, you have a much harder burden. You are to love Wendy as Christ has loved the Church. You are to be ready to sacrifice all for her, even your own life. You are to suffer whatever is necessary, as Christ suffered the agonies of the Cross for His beloved Bride.
In case you have not noticed yet, your love is not equal to Christ's. Yet so far as you are able, by the power of the Holy Spirit working with you, strive to be an image and a mask of Christ so that He may pour out His love to this woman.
Even now, you have brought her to this house where she will soon receive the washing of water with the Word. So, blameless and spotless in God's sight, she is made safe and secure in the eternal kingdom of the Lamb.
You also will care for her as if she were your own body; no, even better. You will sometimes set aside your own needs so that she can come first. Whatever sacrifices you make will show that the two of your are one flesh. You are one life lived in two bodies. So you will naturally care for her in every way you can, in both physical and spiritual needs.
Here is the mystery that is older than sin, that stretches back to the Garden of our first parents. Here is the picture that God established to show the glories of the future union between Christ and the Church. For Christ could not allow His saints to fall into death and darkness, but sacrificed Himself for us all. So all who believe are one with Christ, even as you, Wendy and Paul, are being joined as one.
This majestic miracle is no human invention. Here is the power of God's love working in your lives. Here is a most wonderful sign of the Lord's grace. Let no one think that this is a lowly or trivial thing. God is here, joining these two. This is His power and love at work. This is a glorious creation of God.
This is the work of Christ: Two are made one. All glory be to Him, the Lord and Bridegroom who redeemed us with His precious Blood, and rose again to show the glorious future of His Bride. Then we shall all be clothed in dazzling beauty and spotless holiness, as He takes us all home to be with Him forever.
And the same Lord bless you as you live in the image of this divine mystery. Amen.
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