Faith Matters: Pastor Dan Witte column

January 25, 2014 

Today you get married.

I will not name you here. (You are not the only happy couple in the area being wed this weekend, and what follows fits them, too.)

But I am glad to tell everyone who reads this that it will be my honor to lead your ceremony.

A word about that: I will not be the one marrying you -- not really. You will marry each other.

That is, the Bible does not say who should lead weddings. The Bible makes it clear marriage consists in the mutual promises a man and woman make to each other -- public, sincere, freely given promises of lifelong love and faithfulness.

Jesus also says God is the one who will marry you to each other, just as he married Adam and Eve to each other in the Garden of Eden.

Jesus says Moses has it right: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

He adds: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate" (Matthew 19:5-6).

Staggering, isn't it?

The Almighty unites you today. You make a covenant before him (Proverbs 2:17).

And he promises to bless you. We sinners deserve the opposite: grief, shame and eternal separation from the Holy One.

Yet it will not just be your friends and relatives today giving you "congratulations" and "best wishes" today.

God himself hugs you today, and tells you how thrilled he is for you.

"He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22).

Will God bless you with children? We pray that he will.

May you see your children's children (Psalm 128:6), and may God grace your marriage with intimate joys and steady mutual support.

Keep him as the center of your home, and your hopes.

"A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Always look forward to his endless wedding banquet. A prophet once described God to long-suffering believers as the best husband: "The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

God, singing?

So will all the angels and saints.

As fast as today will fly by, try to ponder endless ages to come. Jesus' apostle, John, saw a bride descending from heaven to the new Earth, beautifully dressed for her husband (Revelation 20).

What singing then! It will sound "like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder," shouting "hallelujah" to God.

Why?

"For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God's holy people)" (Revelation 19:6-8).

The Rev. Daniel A. Witte, pastor of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, can be reached at 941-756-7545. For more information, see rsavior.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday's Herald, written by local clergy members.

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