At some point over the past couple of months, while I’ve watched and read a lot of debate (some helpful, some not) over the issue of homosexual marriage; it occurred to me that we might be overlooking one aspect of marriage that we almost take for granted nowadays, the wedding itself. We talk about redefining marriage all the time now, but I’d like to take just a minute to consider the idea of redefining the wedding.
Why, you ask? Well, first of all, gay marriage is now legal in this country. The United States of America now recognizes the union of one man to another man, or one woman to another woman, in marriage, to be lawful and in the best interest of its citizens. I don’t like it, but there is nothing we can do about it. The only thing that can overrule the Supreme Court, is the Supreme Court itself. So unless some major changes happen in Washington, this reality is going to stick for quite some time. That doesn’t mean that we should abandon all our efforts to keep this agenda alive in D.C., but it means that this is pretty much out of our hands for the time being.
Now what do we do as Christians to set ourselves apart? Trying to demonstrate what a godly marriage is to the world hasn’t worked so far. Although men and women living out a godly, biblical marriage, exist to be sure; a marriage is a day to day, week to week, year to year ongoing relationship that grows and builds and has many private and intimate aspects that the world never sees. But the wedding that joins these two into that covenant is something that’s meant to be shared with others, openly. We invite people to join us in the celebration of it. Unfortunately, in my experience, if you’ve seen one wedding, you’ve seen them all. The same look, the same feel, the same old tired chicken dance, every wedding, every time.
So how are we, as Christians, to be salt and light? If we really cherish marriage as we say, shouldn’t we stand apart in marriage, even on the first, most public display of it? I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but the wedding has become little more than a tradition, a ceremony, bordering almost on a superstition at points. We watch and we gawk as irresponsible sums of money are thrown away in order to give a young woman her “special day”, or give a young man a day that represents his “entrance to manhood”, or giving the parents paying for all this a “heart attack”.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but your wedding is not all about you. It’s not a pretty dress. It’s not a perfect church building, or a stretched limousine. It’s not a three-tier cake, or a hip DJ. It’s not a flower girl, or a wedding album, or a bridal party, or a handful of rice. It’s not something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue. A wedding represents the grace of God through His natural creation of man and woman for one another, and it represents the relationship that Christ has with His Church. In short, a wedding is about the glory of God shown to us through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
And I think it’s fair to ask how many weddings you’ve been to that actually focus on that? What sets your wedding, or the wedding of someone you know, apart from those of the world? A longer sermon? A few more scripture readings? A dry (non-alcoholic) reception? How many weddings have you been to lately that focus on Christ? I’m not saying this to criticize, well, I guess I am. But I’m really trying to open your eyes to the possibility that as believers, our Christian weddings can be so much more.
Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about whether or not I’ll ever get married. I would love to meet a godly woman, and be a husband someday, but I honestly don’t know if that’s what God has planned for me. Nevertheless, I’ve wondered about what my wedding might look like. And to tell you the truth, I would love my wedding to resemble the day I was baptized.
That may sound strange, but on that day, we sang hymns, we read and studied God’s word, my pastor delivered a wonderful sermon, and my baptism took place right in the middle of it. It was an event, but it was an event that glorified God. For about five minutes, I stood in that water, and I gave my testimony, and I was baptized. Some of my family was there, but more importantly, my Church was there, my brothers and sisters in Christ were there. All together, we gathered that day to give glory to God, and that is exactly what we did.
I would want my wedding to feel the same way. Not front and center. Not the reason for gathering. Just another part of a much larger service. Right there, in my church, with my Church family, before God. No vanity, no flowers, no superstitions. Just two people committing to live godly for one another until the day they die. Proclaiming not only the gospel, but election, sacrifice, and grace.
You may think I’m insane, but you have to admit, the world won’t be having anything even close to resembling a wedding like that. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll start to see that when we say marriage, we mean something totally different than when they say it. Maybe there will even be a few who realize that a Savior (Husband) doesn’t join in union with another Savior (Husband), and a Church (Bride) doesn’t join to another Church (Bride). Christ, our Savior, has gone to prepare a place for us, His Church, and He will return for us, and we will be joined with Him for eternity (Marriage).
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
Let’s look at the words of the apostle Paul. Every time the subject of husbands and wives comes up, Paul doesn’t just pass it by. He doesn’t equate it to something small, like a parable. No. He goes the other way, and he equates marriage with the biggest most profound concept we can grasp… That of the relationship between the Father and the Son, or Christ and His Church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
1 Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
The relationship between husbands and wives is designed to represent the things of the highest order. Why would we want to cheapen that with a process that’s become so cookie-cutter, and cliché, that it’s all worth nothing?
I don’t expect this to appeal to many of you, if any. But ask yourselves why a Christian baker was forced to pay a gay couple thousands of dollars? Because we’ve reached a point where a cake is so much a part of the wedding ceremony, that to make one was, in their minds, to partake in it. A cake. Does a cake really mean anything to you? Does marriage? Let’s not give these foolish things any weight any longer. Let’s glorify God in these things, and die to self.