Photo by Gianni Scognamiglio on Unsplash
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS
“Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.”
Jesus loved His Church. He died for her. He went through hell and back all for her. He forsook everyone for her. He left behind His Father. He left behind His mother. For Her. He loved her that much, even to bitter sufferings and death. He shed His blood for her. He even rose from the dead for her.
Jesus still loves His Church. He’s washed her with the washing of water and the word—Holy Baptism. He nourishes her—feeds her—with His own body and blood, the blood that poured out from His own side. He cares for her continually surround her with the Good News that He’s saved her, that He’s forgiven Her, that she’s glorious, spotless, pure, and holy.
Jesus loves you. He loves you, Taylor. He loves you, Brett. You’re part of the Church, His bride. We all are, by faith in Him. We’ve all been baptized. We are given to eat of His body and drink of His blood as He bids us do in His own Last Will and Testament. He loves all of us here today. He loves us. Of course He does! Just look at what He does: He died for us and all our sins, rose for us, and continues to wash, nourish, and care for each of us now.
That’s His love for you. His love is seen, done, and delivered. The Love that went through Calvary is stronger than death itself. He rose from the dead. His love is given you in your Baptism. It’s a love that’s poured out for you in the chalice of blood in the Supper of His body and His blood. It’s a love that forgives, fully and unconditionally, “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but glorious and holy and without blemish.” His love for you endures past your sins, His love endures past death itself. He will raise you from the dead. How could He not? He loves you.
Taylor and Brett, you’re here today because Jesus loves you. His Father love you, too. In His Son, the Father worked out all things, even a locked car door, to bring you together. From the foundation of the world He planned your good works for you, and now you get to walk in them for the rest of your life. “Husband and wife love and honor each other.” His gift is far greater than even all that.
He baptized you. Jesus baptized you to deliver His forgiveness and love for you right to you, and in Holy Baptism you are what He always wanted you to be: a forgiven child of His Father. Now in Holy Baptism, you were baptized for today and the rest of your life. Baptism is a life-long gift, and you’re going to use that gift of new life, of love and forgiveness in your life-long marriage. Jesus’ body and blood are also for this moment and the rest of your lives. His body and blood will refresh you in His love, strengthening you in your faith toward God and in your fervent, growing, deepening love for each other.
His Baptism, His Supper delivering all of Him to you so that He would work through you for each other’s good. And when you mess up, when you’re angry or fighting or just frustrated, when you don’t let His love have it’s way with you, when your love for each other fails, He’s there for you. To absolve you, to restore you back to His Gift of Holy Baptism, to give into you His body and His blood, for your forgiveness life and salvation. That is how He loves you.
Jesus loves you. His love is seen, done, and delivered. His love is stronger than any of your sins, which you do daily and much. The Love that went through Calvary is stronger than death itself. He rose from the dead. His love is given you in your Baptism. It’s a love that’s poured out for you in the chalice of blood in the Supper of His body and blood. It’s a love that forgives, fully and unconditionally, “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but glorious and holy and without blemish.”
His love for you, Brett and Taylor, endures past your sins, His love endures past death itself. “His love endures forever!” And so His love for each of you and His love working through each you for each other, His eternal love will also endure for you “for richer, for poor, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, until death parts you.” (His love does the same for all of us.)
And when death does part you, Jesus will do what’s promised to do. A promise He made at your Baptism, a promise He delivers in His Supper. He’s promised it to you, Brett and Taylor, promised it to me, promised it to us all: He will raise us from the dead! How could He not? He’s risen from the dead, and He loves us. And, on that Day, He will gather us together from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful, His eternal wedding feast, which has no end.