Words and their interpretations are incredibly important to those in the law profession. So imagine my struggle to carefully compose a wedding ceremony for two lawyers! Thank God for giving me just the right word, and only two were needed!
I was performing the wedding ceremony for two lawyers and joked, “When attorneys get married they don’t say ‘I do’ but ‘I accept the terms and conditions of this contract’.”
It was a moment of levity, but in all seriousness it is now common practice to break commitments on a regular basis, and keeping one’s word is nothing more than a widely-accepted exercise in futility.
To the contrary, God’s Word has a lot to say about the power of words. It was the breath of God through the creative power of His Words that brought everything into existence.
Words are transmitters; they either transfer positive or negative power. Some bless, some curse, some give life, and others deliver a death blow.
Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.’ John 5:24, NIV
‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.’ Matthew 7:24, NIV
God makes binding contracts with us through our words. Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior have said I DO to Him. All anyone has to say is ‘I do’ to Jesus and is instantly received into His family.
It seems simple to say two words and be forever bound together. In a perfect world saying ‘I do’ leaves no room for ambiguity or interpretation. It is an all inclusive, no reservation, covering every possibility, all contingency contract. No small print, no italics, no margin for parenthetical possibility.
Are we being naive, shortsighted, and narrow minded to think two words and a few short vows can be the fabric by which any married couple are willing to stake their entire relational history? That it’s enough of a foundation to support the hope of their entire future?
The reason we can have profound faith comes from far more than a belief, or a desire, or a hope. It comes from a deep seeded God-given calling to love. A calling to serve and care for one another, in good times and bad, through all of life’s victories and challenges. You choose love.
The apostle John puts it this way –
“I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that you should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” 2 John 1:5, NLT
By the act of marriage, we answer a vital question that many in our time and culture are asking: What is the logic in making a commitment that lasts forever?
According to God’s Word, the compulsion to enter a lifelong commitment is an expression of the human soul’s deepest ambitions. The subliminal longing emanating from the soul has caused the logic-defying institution of marriage to be an integral part of human life since the dawn of time. This human desire to connect and commit makes the aspiration for marriage one of our most basic instincts.
God created us for a paradise. Just as Eden was not complete without companionship, your heart’s longing is fulfilled through a journey of love and commitment is a sanctuary of pleasure, safety, security and joy – a paradise of I DO.
What is the soul’s agenda? What does it stand to gain from permanently connecting with another soul? There are two primary considerations that drive our soul’s desire to marry: a desire to be complete, and its need to transcend itself. Attraction is more than base carnal urges, it actually stems from the human spirit’s innate desire to unite with a soulmate.
Whereas physical or mental needs and tendencies are decidedly egocentric, the soul, created in God’s image has a desire for selflessness. The soul’s most fervent wish is to transcend itself. This can only happen by the work of Christ in His death and resurrection that offers His grace, mercy, and newness of life.
Marriage also offers the soul the opportunity to express its altruistic nature. So much so that God’s Word uses it as it’s model of relationship- Christ as the groom the Church as the bride. Marriage is more than two bodies and two minds coming together, it is about two souls who put their individual needs aside and commit themselves 100% to the success of the relationship.
Aside from the bride and groom’s commitment to each other, Christian marriage involves an additional commitment. Building a relationship and a family with Biblical values enjoined with a community of fellow believers is a calling beyond ourselves.
The truth we were provided to accomplish this task is the Gospel woven together with its commandments, and the home is its first frontier. Man and woman are the perfect team to implement this plan. When working in harmony, you have the ability to make a home with your children that will be an epicenter of love whose rippling waves affect the neighborhoods you will live in, the vocations that you choose, the friends you enjoy life with.
Every individual I DO is a vital piece in the grand puzzle which, when completed, will usher all of creation into its intended state of redemption.
I did not take the honor of performing this wedding ceremony lightly. In the crafting of this charge I believe God was speaking a special word into my heart and to the Church at large that He desired for us, as His holy people, to make a counter-culturally strong return to being people who honor and keep our word.