This past Sunday our family went to my nephew and his bride-to-be's wedding. It was outdoors, groups of people rode on a wagon to the beautifully landscaped ceremony location at the rear of the farm. As the ceremony started, the processional took place, the music got louder and the bride was seen in the distance riding her horse, approaching the ceremony. As she came over the hill in full view, the groom was overwhelmed to see his bride. The father of the bride assisted her off her horse and walked her down the aisle to her husband-to-be. It was perfect!
Ephesians 5:22-27 was read:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
The Pastor was very thorough about each part of the ceremony. Message. Song. Vows. Rings. Then just before the announcement of the newlyweds, he gave them a challenge, "As your relationship goes forward, things will get tough. He may seem distant, but be right beside you. She may be become distant but again, right next to you. If and when this happens, I encourage you to seek Christ at the foot of the Cross. [The pastor pointed to the Communion table where they just took communion together.] And there you will find each other again."
In the Ephesians passage, first the wife is given the charge to submit to her husband, but a few words later "as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body." It plainly gives the idea to follow the example of the Lord. And next for the husbands, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her," It plainly gives the idea to follow the example of the Lord.
We made our way to the reception in a barn at the front of the farm. This barn was perfect. The reception was perfect!
We were able to see some of our family whom we haven't seen for years. Great conversations. My cousin is the CEO of a horse ranch/Bible camp in western PA, and we stepped aside for a few minutes of conversation. One thing he said to me was this.: "Remember back about five years ago when we visited the area, we were taking the family to the beach the next day, you mentioned to us that God plucked you out of a church and sat you right in a seat at LFA Church where they were teaching Philippians, it was God saying "Be still and know that I am God, Learn about Me."? Yes, I remembered that. But what he said next, " I sat on the beach the next day thinking about that, I frequently think about that. God said "Know me" to you, and you knew it was Him and followed Him. Following Christ has become a powerful theme at the camp with the leadership. I use this experience you had in messages that I teach around the country."
Oh wow! What a humbling moment! But it was all God’s doing! That’s where God put me, at LFA Church, to know Him, to follow Him, to share Him. I’m glad that God reveals some of the unseen ripples from things that we have said or even done in life. I’ve learned that they do happen. But most importantly, just hearing the statement, “Jesus is the center of the universe” is one thing, living that out everyday because it has become a truth in our lives is a result of “following the Lord”
I hope the best for the newlyweds. And I’m really glad there’s a powerful triangle of God’s design built into the relationship of marriage. It takes following Jesus.