The Sweet Christian Bride


by admin on July 17, 2012 in Faith, Sermon, Vows with 109 Comments

I’m always surprised when I hear a fresh wedding homily, and yet, I’ve never heard two alike.  I think my surprise is due to the fact that so many of them are so seriously great that I can’t imagine the pastor ever using a different one.  Praise the Lord that He keeps His Truth spoken in fresh ways.

The most recent wedding homily I have heard was given by Pastor Rankin Wilbourne, the pastor of Pacific Crossroads Church in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, CA.  To set the scene for you, we were seated on a hillside patio that overlooked the Pacific Ocean, all the way from Long Beach up to Malibu.  If you have ever seen the Los Angeles coast from a vantage point, you know how far of a coastline that is.  You also know how clear the day must have been to see all of that.  All that to say, the view was spectacular!

In the background was soft but spirit-filled worship songs by a soloist and a guitarist.  All around was the sundressed and coat-less group of close friends and family basking in the sunshine with joyful anticipation of the bride and groom, two humble and remarkable people.

Rankin referenced this spectaular view and setting as an appropriate context for marriage,which is spectacularly…

1) Threatening.  Yes, threatening.  He acknowledged the depth of intricacy, challenge, and sacrifice that intermixes with growth in a God-centered marriage, and I’m so glad he did.  Marriage is spectacularly threatening largely because it depends on total vulnerability between spouses.  Without this vulnerability, oneness does not come.  Of course, with this vulnerability also lies the potential to exploit and manipulate the very one we have vowed to love.

2) Comforting.  Anyone who has shared the depth of vulnerability in marriage that is necessary for Christ-centered oneness has also experienced the indescribable comfort of knowing that your spouse has vowed to partner with you forever.  There is utter comfort, healing comfort, in knowing that you can be yourself and be loved and accepted anyway in the safety of a covenant marriage.  That is indeed spectacularly comforting.

3) Transformational.  This last one, Rankin points out, is not true of all marriages.  The only way this can possibly be true is for Christ to transform each individual.  He will do so in marriage, for marriage is a mirror to the individual and a catalyst for unconditional love to the pair.  Neither spouse will ever be able to fulfill the needs of the other, but Christ can.  When the pressure to fulfill is off each spouse and put on Christ, miracles happen that refine each spouse further into the image of Christ and that cements a marriage to withstand against opposition for a lifetime.  Christ-centered marriage is spectacularly transformational.

Hearing this homily, all I could think was, “Amen to that.”  Homilies are tricky because they should celebrate the joyous occasion of a loving marriage, yet they should also address the challenges that each is about to vow before God to endure.  Rankin did that, and I truly believe that the bride and groom grasped the weight of the vows they made, cheerfully accepting that sacrifice and responsibility, because they fully understood that their marriage would be far from spectacular without Christ.

By Lindsay

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