Written at the request of a friend on behalf of her son & new daughter-in-law for an open-house in his home town a week after the wedding was held across the state in the bride’s home town.
Pastor Merrill was supposed to be here today to offer a blessing on your marriage on behalf of your family and St.John Lutheran, but as you may have heard, he is with his own family this week after the loss of his sister-in-law. James’ mother, Lucia asked me if I would stand in for Pastor and I’m very honored to do so.
When she was in high school, my wife Bethany, who was Lucia’s student, helped take care of James in the Black Hills when his family vacationed in the Black Hills (perhaps around Bill & Lucia’s anniversary, since they were married there, if I’m not mistaken).
Jame’s sisters were both flower girls in our wedding 24 years ago, the year of Charter Oak’s Centennial. As a matter of fact, when I asked her if she had anything in mind for this blessing, she suggested the Bible verse which Bethany & I had read at our wedding.
So here it is-
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I will spare you a sermon as long as Pastor Gebhardt gave at our wedding, but I would like to give you 5 ways that you two can work to bless your OWN marriage:
- Give thanks to God for your marriage. Not just today, not just on your anniversary, but every day. An attitude of gratitude staves off more trouble than you can imagine.
- Pray for unity. It’s great to be in love, it’s great to be a team, its great to be each other’s best friends, soul mates, etc. yadda yadda yadda- but the Bible says “and the two shall become one flesh.” For a weld to last, essentially two pieces of metal must become one. So ask God to help you be patient with one another, bearing with one another in love, encouraging each other and building each other up.
- Pray for unconditional love. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13: Love is Patient, Kind, not Self-Seeking, Humble, not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. In short it’s Altruistic, in other words, it seeks what is best for the other person. It is a choice, an act of will- not a feeling. You’re still feeling the glow of the honeymoon, but there will be days ahead when you need to remember to choose to love one another. This is a tall, tall order. How can ANYONE possibly expect to do this, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer? In good times and in bad?
I will tell you how. By asking God to be that third strand in in your chord of three. Ask God to be the the weld, the Gorilla glue, the duct tape. Ask God to be the kevlar, the teflon, the carbon fiber weaved into your lives and binding your marriage together. That’s how.
- Pray for growth in your relationship with each other & Christ. If you offer yourselves and your marriage to Him, He will sanctify it, strengthen it, and use it to bless not only yourselves and each other, but your whole families and your communities. If you invite God into your life and your marriage, He will make it stronger and more secure than any other relationships you have ever had or ever will have.
One great way to do this is this- Don’t just attend church together, don’t just pray FOR each other, privately on your own, but don’t be afraid to pray WITH each other. Nothing is so personal, so intimate, or makes you so vulnerable to each other, not even sex. Take your joys and sorrows, your celebrations and your fears to God together, as if you were one person. Never be afraid to do this. Nothing will unite you like this, believe me. It’s true that the couple that prays together stays together. It’s not just a cliche and it’s not some awkward, super-fundamentalist voodoo gimmick. It’s a great gift you give each other and an amazing one God gives to you- be each other’s prayer-partners.
- Pray that your marriage would be joyful. Nehemiah 8:10 says that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Which really brings us back to number one. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Thank God for each other and for your marriage every day. If you thank God for Brie, you won’t help but love her. If you thank God for James, you won’t help but love him. If you thank God for your marriage every day and in every situation, there’s no doubt that He will be that third strand for you. And a chord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Now everyone, please join me in praying for God’s blessing on Brie and James. And as soon as we’re done, we’ll go ahead and join together in the common table prayer, which we pray around here so that everyone can go ahead and eat when we’re finished.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of love, marriage and family which you have given to James and Brie.
We ask that You would bless their marriage.
We pray that you would unite them as one in Your love, with Your Holy Spirit and with a deep, genuine, selfless and eternal love which both imitates and represents the sacrificial love of your Son, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; but rather, gave Himself up for us, so that we each could have a relationship with You.
We pray that You would help them to seek You together; in prayer, in faith, in Your Word, and in Christian fellowship and community.
We pray that you would help them grow in their relationship with You and with one another, so that their joy may be complete in You. Please bind them together in perfect unity and be the third chord in their knot.
in Jesus name we pray,
And we join together-
Come Lord Jesus be our guest, let these gifts to us be blessed, oh give thanks unto the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever.