The Holy Marriage of Winston Andrew Parker Grieser and Anya Muench
November 11, 2017 A+D
St. John 2:1-11
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God ordained and instituted holy marriage in Paradise before our Fall into sin. Marriage is not an institution built simply for the sake of efficiency or convenience or even romance. Nor is it a necessary compromise caused by the reality of sin, as though there were a more ideal way to live but this is the best we can do given our imperfections.
Holy Marriage is what we were meant to be, what we were created for, what God has created and given. We were designed to live in families, husbands and wives, parents and children. “Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:23–25, ESV)
Then the Fall did come and with it shame. Marriage fell on hard times. Adam no longer loved Eve as his own body, putting her honor before his own comfort. Eve no longer trusted Adam to care and provide for her. She chafed under his leadership. One of their sons murdered another. We are not now what we were meant to be. Our bodies and minds, even our souls, do not work they way they were supposed to. They betray us. Adam’s failure in the garden did more than ruin marriage. It ruined all things that humans touch, even plunging the rest of creation into disorder and self-interest.
So the Lord took up Flesh He came into the chaos that we created. Eve thought she could steal God’s likeness and know good and evil. So God became a Man to be subjected to evil and make her like Him. In this way He kept humanity as the crown of creation. He loved Eve and would not let the devil win. He became one of us to satisfy the Law on our behalf. He made Himself our substitute, scapegoat, and sacrifice, even as He made Himself our strength, salvation, and song. He paid our debt, suffered our punishment, and declared us to be righteous in Him. In this way, He re-ordered creation.
In the very midst of this great work, He confirmed the Divine institution of marriage. Commenting on the passage from Genesis He said: They are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6, ESV). In His Incarnation, He also honored the estate of Marriage by His presence in Cana. There He magnified and illustrated holy marriage by a miracle: “The master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from” (John 2:9a, ESV).
That wine is long gone. Sin threatens all that is good in a world gone mad. But the Word of the Lord endures forever. What God joins together in Holy Marriage, a man and a woman, can’t quite be seen by the human eye even though we glimpse it. To our fallen sight it might look like it is simply a business arrangement or that it is built on human affection or that it is temporary. No Christian man and wife live up to the standard or ideal. That can mislead us as well. Much as the Sacrament of the Altar looks like bread and wine, it can look like it is temporary and fragile and dispensable. It is not.
Holy Marriage is a miracle, a supernatural reality. It isn’t made by two people making a promise. In a way not unlike Holy Baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar, it is made by God’s Word. He takes two and makes one. No man should put it asunder
There are things that want to put it asunder. Besides the devil and the world, you must also fight your own sinful nature. Each of you must contend with your own flesh, your inherited and sinful instinct to think of yourself first. Cave in to that, make marriage about maximizing pleasure or meeting your own needs and goals, and not about children and family, not about self-sacrifice and service to your neighbor, and the marriage might be rent asunder. Your body, your mind, and your possessions are no longer your own. You belong to one another and to your families. You belong to the Church and you belong to your neighbor.
The antidote to the flesh and sin, to the pain and difficulties of any marriage between two sinners, is Christ Himself. He came to the wedding in Cana. That is really something. He came to the wedding at Cana and there began His public ministry. He is here today with you. He is present in His Word. He hears your prayers this day and our prayers for you. He does not turn water into wine, but He does turn two into one.
We were designed to live in families, husbands and wives, parents and children, but sin has brought us crosses. Not everyone has 20/20 vision or the use of both legs. Not everyone finds a spouse and some have their spouses taken away. Not everyone can have children. The Lord setteth the solitary into families, into His family. Even as He turns two into one, He turns sinners into saints. The master of the feast knows not where the wine came from, but the servants know and so do we. It came from Jesus. We know where grace comes from, where hope comes from, where the ability to live as husbands and wives in a fallen world comes from: it comes from His Cross, where He purchased us to be His own and from His resurrection where He sealed the victory and promised us life. The day will come when we will have 20/20 vision, when we won’t be filled with regrets, when we won’t be lonely. Christ is the Bridegroom. This is His wedding. He has washed us for Himself, immaculate in Him, beautiful and gorgeous and ready for Him. He pours out the wine of the Holy Spirit.
There is no water into wine today, but there is two into one, a miracle for those with eyes to see. And that they might stay one in this perilous plane, tomorrow morning, on this very altar, The One who turned water into wine turns wine into Blood – and we know where it comes from. And we know what it does. And we know that He will see us through.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.