Ashley Moffett and Justin Marutiak
Ashley and Justin, what I want to say first to you, is thank you. It is for us all here this afternoon, 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! Congratulations to you, and with so many blessings upon you as you now step forward together into this new chapter of your life.
The lesson that you selected, from the Book of the Psalms, Psalm 127, is a wonderful and very appropriate reading for this day.
It is a beautiful song, about our priorities and values of life. About how all that is truly important in our lives, the relationships and activities that enrich and support our life and make life worth living, will thrive and grow strong when built on the strong foundation of trust in the care of our heavenly Father. To know God, and most importantly to know God in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to be a building built on a strong foundation, a plant rooted down in rich and nourishing soil.
The psalm talks about the hard work of life. Getting up early, going to bed late, times of struggle and worry. All of it there, even as with the vows you take this afternoon, “for better, for worse, for richer for poorer.” Good times, hard times. But for all that effort to bring you true joy, happiness, peace, and fulfillment, it takes something more. Because no matter how hard we work, we can’t make that happen by our own effort. What we seek is his blessing, his encouragement, his love.
And it is my hope and prayer that as you exchange your vows today, you will as you are doing so invite Christ to be a part of this marriage and the family you will be together, the home you will make, the life you will live. Invite him to be a part of it with you, and ask for his blessing.
In the midst of this I’m reminded that in the Old Testament Book of Exodus there is one of my favorite Bible stories, about a moment of life-changing experience, a “vocational” moment, a transformational moment-- in a way kind of like a wedding. Young Moses is working for his Father in Law, tending his sheep out in the wilderness, and one day he sees something off in the distance that looks strange to him. He moves closer and finally comes to this great big tree or bush that is on fire, fully engulfed in flames, burning and burning—but no matter how long it burns, it doesn’t burn out.
He watches for a while, amazed at the sight, and then all at once a great, deep voice comes from the flame. (I like to think it was the voice of James Earl Jones.) “Take off your shoes, Moses, for the ground on which you are standing is holy ground.” Holy Ground.
Now, Justin and Ashley, we don’t need to take that literally, and you can keep your shoes on. But we would remember that in the vows and promises you make today, in God’s sight and with us here as your witnesses, the ground under your feet is consecrated, and made holy. That God’s holy presence is with you, surrounding you, above you, and beneath your feet, with richness and blessing.
The prayers and blessings of this day don’t just happen here, in this one moment of a wedding, but they go out with you into your marriage and life together, from this day forward, and will be around you and under you and with you all the days of your life.