Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Side by side. You two today. Kaitlin and Ryan. Sure, you two were together before today, but now the Lord has something bigger, better in store for you. Not just hand in hand or arm in arm, but two made one. Just like Adam and Eve: “It’s not good for man to be alone.” You just heard the rest: rib from side, woman walked down the aisle by God and given to the man. “Bone of my bone; flesh of my flesh.” “They are no longer two, but one flesh.”
United together as husband and wife, you’re greater than you were before. Now, not alone, but together—one! As one, you’re not just side by side. You’ve got each other’s backs. You look out for one another, “…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.” Together, side be side, one flesh, not just today, but every day until death parts you.
Your side-by-side, one-flesh life won’t just be picture perfect. It won’t all be happy days. It won’t all be smooth sailing. Besides the fact that there may be “poorer”, may be “worse”, besides the fact there will be “sickness”, one day one someone will wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Someone will mess up, let the other down. We all have those sorts of days. On those days, the poorer, worse, sick, cranky, mistake filled days—what matters on those days isn’t today.
Yes, you’re put together even for those days, but what matters on those days is a completely different day. On those days what matters is Good Friday. What matters isn’t that you’re put side by side for life, but what matters for every single day of your marriage is what came from Christ’s own side. He was crucified for all your days, for all your sins, and having died in your place, His side was pierced with a spear, and blood and water came out.
Jesus’ pierced side, now scarred over since He’s risen from the dead, is what matters for each of you. You’ve been baptized, both of you cleansed, “by washing of water with the Word,” as Paul says. You’re “nourished,” fed with His body and blood. With His death and resurrection, His baptism, His body and blood on your side, you’re on His Dad’s good side, you’re saved, eternally saved.
But what Jesus does at Calvary, when you were baptized, and in the Supper of His body and blood isn’t just for each of you. He died for your life together, your marriage. He baptized you for today, and the rest of your life. A place to use the new life He gives you. You receive what He’s done for you, and you then pass that on to each other. Jesus’ love, His forgiveness poured out for you, to you, and with you, and He will you use each of you to pass that love and forgiveness on to each other and the children God gives you. In the “better” days but especially in those “worse” days.
Through God’s Word and Jesus’ Spirit-filled Gifts, you’ll have a family and home and lives defined, adorned, and full of Jesus’ own love and forgiveness. His love, His forgiveness is the foundation of your marriage. He will strengthen and enliven and fuel not only your commitment to each other, but His love will deepen your love for each other, making it last, making it fruitful, making shine and glow with His own love for you.
So, today. Ryan and Kaitlin, side by side. Not just today. Everyday, until death parts you. When you’re side by side in prayer and devotion and in hearing His Word and preaching and at the Communion rail, Jesus Himself is there drawing you closer together and closer to Himself—all at the same time! Jesus’ love, His forgiveness, His mercy and salvation is yours. He died for you, baptized you, gives you His body and blood. He does this for us all! And it’s for us all until one day when we who believe in Him are all side by side and face to face with our Savior Jesus at His eternal wedding banquet which He “purchased” and won “with His own blood” for each of us.