Many people are afraid to begin. In part, this is because of the uncertainty of the new; but there is also a deeper reason for this fear. Beginnings, in our experience, always tear. Redemptive history testifies to this truth: In making the world, God took hold of the creation and tore it to pieces before He assigned names and pronounced it good. At the initiation of every covenant, animals were torn and burned on the altar. At the genesis of the New Creation, the heavens were rent as the Spirit descended on Jesus, and at the end of the earthly life of our Lord, the flesh of the crucified Son of God was torn, and the temple veil ripped from top to bottom.
Julian and Leah, this is what is happening to you this evening. You are being torn from parents and siblings, and the fabric of everyone’s life is being unraveled.
So, if beginnings are difficult, why go through the challenge of forming a new household? Because it is through the breaking of something that something new is formed. This is the way God works in creation; this is the way He operates in new households and relationships. Just as He broke the Old World in order to give us the Son of Glory, Jesus Christ, so too, He breaks your old world and gives you a new life. And this is what you are called to meditate as a new family: that God has taken your separate lives and He is now going to make a new beginning.
But a new beginning also entails new responsibilities. The first responsibility is to understand that:
Marriage is by faith. You need to believe that the Father is going to mature you as husband and wife. He is going to use each one of you as a means of maturation in marriage. He is going to shape and sharpen you so you become an instrument of sanctification in your spouse’s life. In marriage, you begin a new journey in faith; a faith that matures with each decision, with each conversation, and with each act of affection.
Another responsibility in this new beginning is the responsibility of mutual identification. Our Lord Jesus Christ has united you to Him. And this union is the model/paradigm of all other earthly unions. Marriage means that you become one. And in this oneness you will need to be aware of your respective roles. Julian, you must know that your Bride is your glory; she is the art and poetry of your home. And your duty is to bestow glory on her; to shower her with words of praise and grace even as Christ showers His Bride, the Church, with honor and glory. The more glorious your Bride, the more glorious your home.
Leah, your responsibility as the glorious Bride of your home is to cause the world to know that your husband is ruling well; that he is the stabilizer, the sustainer, and the strength of the home.
Julian, your reputation is Leah’s; and Leah, your reputation is Julian’s. From now on, what happens to one happens to the other, because you are mutually identified.
But finally, the responsibility of a new beginning implies a great sense of dependence on the strength and activity of the Spirit. The same Spirit that opened your hearts to see the world through new eyes is the same Spirit who will give you a persevering marriage. Today marks this new beginning; a Spirit-led beginning. The Spirit is the divine matchmaker who has brought you together. By the words you speak and the words the minister speaks this evening, your world will be torn. Things will never again be the same, but if you walk by the Spirit, the world you have known is being torn only to be put back together into a pattern more wondrous than you can ever imagine. By trusting the Father, your union in Christ, and the Guiding power of the Spirit, you can face your new beginning with confidence; a confidence not grounded in the God of the dead, but in the God who delights in making new beginnings, even this evening. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.