June 6, 2009 Holy Matrimony
Brienne Joy Mains and Andrew Stephen Westphal
Ephesians 5: 1-2, 21-33
Brie’ and ‘Drew, what I want to say first to you, and I know I’m speaking for all the family and friends gathered here this afternoon, is thank you. It is for us all, and for me personally, a privilege and a joy to be sharing this moment with you, to be with you as you exchange the vows and promises, the words, and the commitments of the heart, that will make you one in Christ, as husband and wife.
It’s a great day! We’ve been thinking about it and planning for it for a long time, and when we started this date seemed a long way off—but now, time has flown by, and here we are. Fall, winter, spring, and now on the doorstep of summer. Congratulations to you, as I know this season of your friendship and deepening relationship has been rich in so many ways, and as I know that the story that is yet to be told of the life and family you will share as husband and wife will be a great one.
The lesson that you selected, from St. Paul’s Letter to the Christian Church at Ephesus, is a wonderful and very appropriate reading for this day. It is I think a deep expression of the passion and compassion of the human heart, as we know that in our deepest and most intimate relationships, and as we would understand through that--that we are for at least a brief moment in this world catching a glimpse of the deep love, the passion and the compassion, that is at the heart of God’s life, and that we are all ultimately destined for.
Wives and husbands are called into this mystery, to love one another in Christ so profoundly, that the other becomes even more important than the self. There is this mutual “subjugation,” to use Paul’s word. A love that seeks not its own benefit, but the victory and completion of the other—a love that finds joy and fulfillment first and most of all in the knowledge that the other comes first in that joy. In this way, the two become one.
The relationship of husband and wife then an image of Christ’s love for us, a hint of how we are all to live in our relationships with one another. And this day, the commitments you bring, the words and promises, speak about who you are today, and also about who we are all destined to become, this moment like a window, through which we begin to see God’s hope and dream for each one of us since the creation of the world.
The rarest thing of all, the most precious, the most fragile, the hardest to find and the easiest to lose, yet somehow also the most durable, the most patient, the most forgiving, the most welcoming.
It is a beautiful image, for this beautiful day, and, I would simply offer the thought that the gift of this moment is one that doesn’t ever need to wear out or to be exchanged. It’s the best gift of all, the richest of all blessings, and can last for a lifetime. May God bless and keep you in this new life that you begin today, and with joy and peace in all the days ahead.
Now as ‘Drew and Brie’ come forward to exchange the vows that will make them husband and wife, I would ask all of us to bow our heads for a moment to offer a prayer for them, for their protection and their blessing, their joy, in all that God has for them in the days and years ahead.