Wednesday, July 30, 2014

“Elegantly Bound!” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

S-1442 7SAP/3A 7/26/2014 Hymns:

Texts: Genesis 2:19-25; 1 John 4:7-11,19; Matthew 22:36-39

Theme: “Elegantly Bound!” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)


Bryant and Elaina, family and friends, in the name of Him who is love Jesus Christ. Amen. They tell me that you folks are here to get married. Is that true? (Wait for response). Are you folks sure this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? (Wait for response). Is there any doubt about it? (Wait for response). Well then, if that is your answer, then let me speak to those who have come to celebrate your special day with you. I want you to know that this message is specifically written for Bryant and Elaina, but if you want to eavesdrop, I can’t stop you. PAUSE.

Well, here we are. No more counting down the days. No more practicing to write Soulek instead of Deadrick. No more single life, but hello married life. Today by the grace of God you will be joined as husband and wife in His sight. Therefore, it is fitting that we would call upon the Lord God Almighty, to let His life-giving Word guide and guard your hearts throughout your blessed Journey of life together.

On this joyful day, we stand in God’s house and in His Presence asking Him to be the honored guest and to bless you as you begin this chapter in your lives called marriage. The text I have chosen for this wonderful celebration is tested, tried and true. The author of this book knows what he is speaking about. He is speaking from personal experience. Listen to Solomon as he gives you a golden nugget that will help you throughout your married life: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (4:12b).

What a wonderful text along with the others you have chosen to be part of God’s loving wisdom as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path in your married life. Solomon says: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” How true that is and I pray that you will remember this for the rest of your lives. Not sure if you have ever tried this exercise, but if you took a single rope, and tried to cut it, you can do so easily. But if you bound three (3) together, it will be more difficult indeed.

That is why I title your message Elegantly Bound. The title was born out of the initials of your names E for Elaina and B for Bryant and thus Elegantly Bound. This binding is taking two of God’s children—a man and woman and joined them to Christ through the gift of Baptism. When Christ is the One binding you, the devil and all other temptations in the world would have a hard time breaking you apart. Today, by the grace of God you will be Elegantly Bound together as husband and wife. PAUSE.

Elaina, I have known you for almost 19 years. I watched you from when you were a little girl running around the church in Sunday School, VBS, midweek classes, confirmation classes, and as you grew up you began teaching Sunday School and VBS; then on to college. I have seen the wonderful transformation God has worked in you to become the lovely and beautiful godly woman you are.

I even asked your father to describe his thoughts of you his little princess. This is what he said. “When I see Elaina I see a child of God, full of love.  A young lady who knows God and knows that God knows her.   I see my daughter who at one time woke in the night crying for her father looking for comfort and now knows that if she needs to cry out I am there, but more importantly, it is God to whom the petition for help and thanksgiving ultimately needs to be given…I see a young lady who is ready to take the next step in life, giving all whom she is to Bryant, the young man she loves.” That is a wonderful commentary and I agree wholeheartedly.

I asked the same of your mother and these are her thoughts: “…Elaina is my Sweet Pea she loves Jesus and knows how much the Savior loves her. As a parent, I loved going into her bedroom and seeing how she wrote her favorite Bible verses on sticky notes that she posted all over her walls.” Now that is a lady who is bound to Christ and His Word.

Bryant, I have not known you that long nor do I know your parents. But I have had the pleasure of getting to know you through the pre-marriage counseling sessions. I want to thank you for being the godly man that you are. As we visited throughout the course of our sessions few things came through loud and clear. 1. You know the Lord Jesus Christ and He knows you as His own blood-bought child. 2. You love Elaina and want to be a good husband to her. And 3, you want to be a good provider for her and in time for the children the Lord will give you in the future. That is a great testimony to your relationship to the One who bound you to Him, Jesus the Christ.

I did however, go behind your back and asked your parents for their thoughts. Here is what your mom said: “Bryant has become an amazing man, kind, caring, responsible, yet witty and funny when he wants to be.  As he’s matured, he has become more than just our son - he’s also become our friend and companion!  And I am so very proud of the wonderful person he is, and thank God for him every day!” and your father added these words: “Bryant is responsible… who can work easily with others.  He is also hardworking and committed. He is also a good cook—his ribs are awesome!

I pray that you two remember this message that it is Christ alone who Elegantly Binds you together in holy matrimony. Remember that it is Christ that first bound Himself to you through His death on Calvary’s cross, in the tomb and out of the tomb. He bound you to Him when you were baptized into His name—Father, Son and Holy Spirit and He will continue to bind you both to Him as you hear His Word and feed on His life-giving Sacrament.

Elaina and Bryant know this and remember it well as you go on in life. Three (3) things you will need to make your marriage happy and blessed. Waiting, trusting and hoping.

Waiting, trusting, and hoping are intricately connected, like golden strands interwoven to form a strong chain. Trusting is the central strand, because it is the response that God desires most of His blood-bought and baptized children. Waiting and hoping embellish the central strand and strengthen the chain that connects you to Your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Waiting upon the Lord’s timing will help you to put your trust in Him and not in yourself. Hoping is the joy of knowing that God will work in your lives for good in every situation. As you wait, trust and hope in Him, know He will not abandon or forsake you. Look to the cross and you will know that His words are golden and they can be trusted. He has proved His worthiness by giving His life for you to be with Him forever in heaven. Hoping is future-directed, connecting you to your inheritance in heaven.

Jesus says to you today as you will become Elegantly Bound together as husband and wife—you are Mine! Don’t just pass time in your waiting. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, you can wait expectantly, in hopeful trust. Keep your “antennae” out to pick up even the faintest glimmer of His Presence.

To help you remember His presence in your lives, I have made you something for your wedding gift. It is a stressed cross with a heart on it. I made it to help you remember that you are indeed Elegantly Bound.

First, notice the golden color heart. If you look closely, you will notice the heart is bound by 3 wires. I bound it together as I formed the heart to remind you that you are bound to Christ. The heart is pointing to Your Savior who loved you first. The heart reminds you of the loving sacrifice of Jesus for your souls. The heart is to keep you focused on the love of Christ that has been planted in your hearts and that will help you love each other. The golden color of the heart is a reminder of the joy and blessings Christ has in store for you in your married life together.

Second, notice the cross it is crooked. I call it, “The stressed cross.” That is to remind you that though you think you have married the greatest woman or the greatest man in the world. Know this, there will be days when you wonder what in the world was I thinking when I married this person. You will get angry with one another and might even get mad at each other. But as we talked during our counseling sessions, never go to bed angry. Never turn your buts to each other and attempt to go to sleep, because you can’t. Instead, work at it long and hard. Go to the Lord in prayers remembering that you are not perfect, your partner is not perfect and your marriage will not be perfect—and ask your partner and Your Lord’s forgiveness and then hug and make up. DON’T YOU EVER, I MEAN THAT, GO TO BED ANGRY!

In this broken world, you will have pain, difficulties, hardships and trials. It is not if you will, but when you will. And when this happens, you go back to the promises of Christ who in love has Elegantly Bound you together and will see you through these challenges. Go to Him who has bound you in love and mercy. Go to Him and pray for His guidance and directions. Go to Him and know that He will be with you all the time and will work through these hardships for your good and for His glory.

The cross is Elegantly Bound, as He binds Himself to us in the incarnation... in His Cross... in His empty tomb!  Yes this is the elegant binding that brings the two cords of Elaine and Bryant together into the unbreakable strand of three.

Elaina and Bryant, by the grace of God soon you will be Elegantly Bound. Therefore, accept this humble gift made specifically for you. Place it in your home someplace and remember through Christ you have been Elegantly Bound to one another until death do you part. May the Lord bless this Elegant Binding now and always. Amen.

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