A Wedding Sermon

on Matthew 19:4-6 by John W. Berg

 

 

 

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

For one, one needs two. One, two - one.  You can’t have one to have one, you need two to have one, and unless one is two, that one is not one.

 

“Have not you read, that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female?”  He made two by first making them one, so that by making them two He could make one. He made one who was two.  He made two by making one.  And He made one by separating one into two to make one. Separating is God’s work and God’s work alone. “Have you not read, what God has joined together, let God alone separate?” God makes one and God separates one into two to make one out of two. 

 

So God puts the one, Adam, to sleep to make the one, two.  Sweet sleep, peaceful sleep. One becoming two to make one. Sweet sleep and the side is opened to bring forth one from the one to join them together to make one, to bring forth life, to bring forth the bride from the opened side of Adam, to bring forth one to join with one to make one.  It is finished.

 

You make one to make two because you need two to make one, to make love, to have love. “Haven’t you read?” For who is God? God is love. And man is made in his image, male and female. That is love, male and female.  

 

A giver and a receiver, lover and loved, a man and a woman, husband and wife.  You cannot have a union, you cannot have one with one alone. You can’t have love with one, that is self satisfaction, selfishness.   You cannot have a husband alone and a wife alone, a lover alone and a loved alone, a giver alone and a receiver alone, it is not good for one to be alone.

 

You cannot have one groom alone and one bride alone. Not anymore, you have become one out of two, no longer daddy’s little girl, his little girl. No longer momma’s boy, her boy. You’ve left father and mother.  Father sighs, mother cries. One out of two.

 

This is the image of God. God is love. God is one, One who gives and One who receives. This must be. For this is love, giver and receiver, the Father eternally begetting the Son,  the Son eternally doing the Father’s will, the Spirit eternally begotten of the Father and of the Son. The Spirit proceeding from the Father and giving glory to the Son. Back and forth. God is love, Love is giving, Love is receiving.

 

God is love and love is one and needs two to be one, to eternally love and give and to eternally receive and give glory.  And so God in love creates one to love and in love creates in his image - love, a giver and a receiver. A love giver and a love receiver, a glory giver and a glory receiver.

 

But un-love destroys all that, unfaith destroys love and turns it inside out.  Selfishness and doubt. Eve does not receive but gives and Adam does not give but receives.  It’s backwards, for Adam is to love and to give his wife the love of instruction, “Have you not heard woman? Don’t eat, woman. Don’t listen, woman.” Adam was to love his wife and crush the skull of the snake. But Adam did not love and remained silent, was not teacher, was not head crusher.

 

Eve was to receive and to remain silent and give glory to Adam, but she spoke, she would not be silent, she would not receive, she would not trust, she would not love, she would not glory him, and so the two became separated from God by not joining together as He had created them.

 

And so God must rejoin together, rejoin together man and woman, rejoin together man and Himself.  God must recreate and rejoin and reestablish and rebirth the union, the holy communion. He must undo the death of separation, the separation of death.

 

He must recreate, He must redo the work. And He does, and it is painful work, damnable work. It is labor, the pain of child birth. Sorrow then joy. it is the labor of planting the seed in sweat and toil and pulling the thorns in sweat, the weeds planted by the enemy. And the Seed must die, the Seed must go into the ground, death in the ground, for there to be abundant life. For God to be one with man.

 

So the Sower must cast the Seed into the ground in sweat and pain. So the Seed must be buried to be raised up. So the Seed, planted in the Virginal womb, is planted in the virginal tomb, is buried to be raised up.  So the Father must put the Son to sleep, so the Father must kill the Son to bring life out of death, so Joseph must bury the body to be raised up. And so labor, pain, death.

 

“It is finished.” And He sleeps, sweet sleep, peaceful sleep and Adam’s side is opened and out pours life, out pours water and blood and the Holy Evangelists says “I swear it is true,” and so by His death He crushes the skull of the serpent at the place of the skull.  He loves his Bride as He gives her His body and sheds for her his blood, and from his side comes life, comes cleansing blood and water, comes Holy Water and Blood, pours out, gushes out - I swear it - and fills the font, a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins.

 

And two become one in Holy Baptism, one body, bone of bone and flesh of flesh. The Bridegroom claims his Bride, and we put on the wedding gown, the bridal gown and we are made one with God in the font, clad in the white wedding gown, cleansed in the Holy Water of the Groom’s life giving Blood.  What God has joined together!

 

God and man reconciled. Two become one with God, regenerated, recreated, reborn, new life and God cries out over you “This is my son,” as the Spirit hovers over the waters and the guardian cherubim in the garden announce “Paradise restored!” Now the bride of Christ, now the one receives from him, unions with him, holy communions with him.

 

You had lost that image of God from birth, and all that was left was a shell. So you went into death, into the grave to be reborn.  You were dead from birth, you two, you were damaged goods, born of damnable flesh, born of fathers who shared their wretchedness and death with you, fathers who shared their selfishness with you, fathers who beg forgiveness from their Father for what they have done to you. For what your fathers gave you not even your mothers could love or paddle out of you, try as they might.

 

But as fathers covered in Christ, they did what fathers know best, they had you killed, buried, raised, baptized in Christ to make you one with God in Christ. Nothing better a father can do that have you drowned in that Holy Water and Blood  to make you one with your Father.

 

And now they’ve done what they can do, They’re tired now, they’re broken down, hearts and backs failing, falling and forgetting. They are finished now and you are beginning, you two who are one, one with the Father through Christ in the Spirit, one with one another in Love to love.

 

One to love, one to give and one to receive. And so, dear bridegroom, you will give your bride all that you are and all you have and treat her as the princess she is, not because she is accustomed to that treatment, which she is, but because she is your bride, your princess, your queen, your beloved, flesh of your flesh, one with you to receive from you.

 

And you, dear bride, will receive from your bridegroom all he has and you will submit to all that he shall do for you without complaint, with all respect for he is your lord, your champion, your beloved, one with you, flesh of his flesh.  You are one to love, one for love, two for one, one with the Holy Trinity in person and the Unity in Substance, of majesty coequal, one with God in Holy Baptism, one with one another in Holy Matrimony. One, two – one. “Haven’t you read?” You are “what God has joined together. “ One plus one, One…

 

in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. §

 

 

The Reverend Father John W. Berg is pastor of Hope Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Fremont, California.