Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Christopher & Karyn Miltenberger

A Wedding Homily
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are gathered here this afternoon to unite this man and this woman in the bonds of Godly and Christian marriage. Before we do however, I need to take a few minutes to say a word of exhortation and commissioning: first, to the bride and groom as part of their preparation for their life together. Second, to those of you who are still in the preparation stage of marriage. And also to the rest of you who need a kind reminder of the vows your took and the journey you are currently on.

When God created Adam in the garden and presented him with Eve he did it with adventure in mind. Think about some of the things that spring to mind when you hear the word adventure: Thrills, wars, battles, terrors, fear, courage, heights, depths, dangers, defeats, victories, enemies, friends, and all sorts of other things. Think about the stories you’ve read over the years that were written in imitation of the way God created the world: the Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, A Tail of Two Cities, even books like Pride and Prejudice, and on and on we could go. God created Adam for adventure and he created Eve to help on the adventure.

How do we know it was an adventure? Look at the first command God gave Adam and Eve: Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:28). If that isn’t an adventure I don’t know what an adventure would look like.

When God sent Adam on his adventure he gave him strict guidelines to follow: He said, you can do anything you want to achieve your goal, but don’t eat from that tree over there. Essentially God was telling Adam do what you want, only trust me as you go. Follow me, do what I do, walk in my footsteps, let me lead, let me tell you what you need to know when you need to know it, let me be God and you be my Adam—my people.

But Adam didn’t follow the directions and he was removed from the garden. He lost his relationship with God, his ability to follow, his exalted status—but he was still on the same adventure. Now it had gotten much more difficult because Sin was a new wrinkle, a huge wrinkle in the equation. Before, the difficulties were manageable, now they were terrible. Before Adam only had to wait on the Lord, now things were actually out to get him. Sin made the adventure much more dangerous.

You, Christopher and Karyn, live in the world Adam caused to be cursed. And you are also about to enter into the great adventure that Adam muffed up. But you need to know that the holy one came, died on the cross and rose from the dead, and thus has assured us that you can be victorious in your pursuit of the adventure because God is the author of this story and he loves you and he wants you to succeed with all wonder and amazement and glory and honor. But let me tell you a few things in preparation for this adventure.

First, you have been created for this adventure. This means that everything you are and everything you will ever be is made for adventure. Your souls long for it, you yearn for it, you’ll do anything to have it and to enter into it. Mankind has always sought for adventure in small ways and in large. Whether it be flying to the moon, or going to the bottom of the sea, or looking into the smallest particle of God’s good creation. Men and women are always asking questions like: What if I were to do it this way? What if I tried this? I wonder if it would work better, be stronger, fly higher, be more efficient if…God made people to be adventurous. This is because he is adventurous; we love adventure because he loves adventure. So, never squash the yearning for adventure. Always look for ways to enjoy the things that God has given you to enjoy. Be eternally grateful and learn to rejoice in every aspect of life that God sets before you as part of the adventure of the life that he has given you.

Second, know that every adventure has its down sides. Adventures are never all calm waters and flat seas. You will always have a demon, or an enemy or something that temps you to leave the God who loves you. There will always be something that will tempt you to take matters into your own hands and do it your way instead of God’s way. Avoid those temptations, cling to Christ, fight mightily with every weapon at your disposal to walk with God—at times run with God. Suffering, for the Christian is normal in this life. Study this, learn about it, embrace it and know that it is part of the adventure that God has called you to.

Finally, let me give you a few practical words before I lead you in your vows:
Right now, you are in the process of leaving your parents and cleaving to your spouse. You Christopher have left your father and mother and are taking a bride, a new wife, and creating a new family. That should, in one sense terrify you. But it should also fill you with great joy. Aren’t adventures grand?

And Karyn, did you notice that your father is giving you away? You used to be his, now you’re not and in a few minutes you will belong to this character standing here? Your father has poured his life into raising you in a way that would qualify you to stand where you are right now. That knowledge should terrify you and fill you with great joy at the same time. Aren’t adventures grand?

But get this, the two of you are no longer members of your previous families, you are a new family, a new unit, a new entity on the grand adventure commissioned to fill the earth and subdue it. Here’s where some possible problems will arise:

Christopher, where did you learn to be a husband? And Karyn where did you learn what to expect of a husband? Karyn where did you learn how to be a mother and a wife? And Christopher where did you learn about what to expect of a wife and mother? What happens when some catastrophe comes up? Can you see where a possible problem might arise when you do what your father would have done instead of doing it the way her father would have done it? Or if you do something the way your mother would have done it instead of how his mother would have done it?

Aren’t adventures grand?

The way to solve this problem is to know that it exists and to work together to both anticipate with love what will come and to understand that these differences are part of the grand adventure itself. Rejoice that she is just like her mother in this. Rejoice that he is just like his father in this. Work together to come up with your own ways of doing things, independent of what your family you left did them.

This brings me to the second (and final) application: in a minute you are going to vow that you will forsake all others in your allegiance to one another. What this means is that you are becoming a unit, a team, you two are becoming one. You need to realize that your mother and your father are no longer your authorities. Christopher your wife is your number one priority in life. The bible commands you to love your wife by laying down your life for her. There is no more important person in your life than your wife. This means that you may not put anything between you and her: no parents, no siblings, no hobbies, no children, no other women or men, no job or career move, nothing shall come between you and your wife. You must fight to the death, anything that tries to pry you apart.

And Karyn, your mother is still your mother and your father is still your father, but if there comes a time when your daddy says one thing and your husband says another, you must remember that you have forsaken all others and you must cling to your husband with every fiber of your being. And if one day your little boy falls and skins his knee and your husband treats him in a way that seems to you to be mean, you will suck it up and submit to your husband. You will not let your children come between you and your husband. Neither will you let anything in life come between the two of you.

The two of you are a team, a unit, one man: it is you against the world. You are on a glorious adventure for the glory of God in the strength of the Spirit of God, in Jesus’ Name, charging out to multiply, fill, and subdue the world.

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