The Fortress of Holy Matrimony

 

O God, our dwelling place in all generations, look with favor upon the homes of our land. Embrace husbands and wives, parents and children, in the arms of Your love, and grant that each, in reverence for Christ, fulfill the duties You have given. Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary, and a foretaste of our eternal home with You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect 2 for the newly married)

I didn’t used to cry at weddings. As a pastor, a part of my job at a wedding is to be the presence of normalcy, especially when people get emotional. That’s a part of the gift that the Church gives to a bridal couple. You are entering into something that has been happening for thousands of years. This is not new territory. So there is no reason for the pastor to get emotion. He knows what he’s doing, and it really doesn’t change very much.

I had it together very well until the collect listed above. This prayer is near the end of the wedding service, and I was just bowled over by the beauty, the simplicity, and the grace that is displayed in this prayer. Is is especially this line which got me:

Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary, and a foretaste of our eternal home with You…

A shelter, a fortress, a resting place, and a fortaste of our eternal home. Those are big words.

Do we think of our homes in this way? Do we understand marriage and family as God’s gift of shelter, protection, rest, and hope?

That is what our Lord promises. That is what our Lord gives to you in your family, whether you are married or not. God puts us in families because He knows it is not good for man to be alone. We are by nature social creatures, but really it is much more than that. When we love each other, and work to live out that shelter-fortress-resting place-fortaste, what we are saying is that the Triune God is in our midst, that He loves us, and that He creates

It’s no wonder I get emotional at these things. My friend, Pastor Don Jordan, was helping with the wedding, so I was able to sit down and reflect during this part of the service. Fortunately for me, I could just see my wife, Kathryn, in the pew on the other side of the bridal couple.

This is the foretaste. Our families. Other people whom God has put in our midst. That is the gift, and it is centered in Christ.

I think I’m okay with getting emotional at weddings. God is doing some amazing there’s there, and the young couple have no idea what they are getting into. But I can hardly wait to watch what God does for them and through them.

Happy wedding day, Paul and Katie!


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