Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
As we enter into late Spring, and then throughout the Summer, there will no doubt be many occasions where a friend or relative will be getting married; and there will rightfully be much celebration. But not only will there be the occasion to celebrate a marriage, but there will also be many more occasions to celebrate the anniversary of a marriage. And as these marriages are celebrated, we will each have the opportunity to reflect on the purpose of marriage.
We know that our Lord approves of marriage, He institutes marriage in the very beginning in Genesis 2:24-25; throughout the Old Testament we see great celebrations and sacrifices made to God whenever a marriage occurs; whether it is a highly exalted king, or just lowly peasants. In the New Testament we see that Jesus first miracle is performed at a wedding in Cana in Galilee; and throughout the Gospels and Revelation, the imagery of marriage is used repeatedly in describing Christ and His bride: the Church.
When we look at the Address to the Congregation in the Order of Holy Matrimony in Lutheran Service Book, p. 275, we see that there are four reasons listed for marriage; and we will take the opportunity to examine them here.
- Companionship and Community – The Lord comments in the Garden of Eden that it is not good for man to be alone, so He creates for Adam a helper, one who will be his companion, who will foster community with him. Adam has seen all of the animals in creation, and none of them offer what Eve offers. Adam cannot communicate or build a community with any of the animals, even in the perfection that is the Garden; so the Lord causes a sleep to come upon Adam, so that He might create the helper suitable for him. See Genesis 2:24-25 and St. Matthew 10:6-9.
- Delight – Men like women, and women like men. They delight not only in the community that has been formed by their pairing, but in other ways as well. To put it plainly, marriage is an outlet for sex. The Sixth Commandment is spoken to both those who are married and to those who are single. To burn with passion, is sinful. It is better to be married and have an outlet for that passion, provided that it is directed towards one’s own spouse; then it is to be single and burn with passion. See Song of Solomon 4:1-7; St. Matthew 5:28; and 1 Corinthians 7:9.
- Having Children – In His wisdom, the Lord has decided that one of the many blessings of marriage is the rearing of children. Children are a symbol of the love that a couple has for each other; and in many respects is a visible sign of the two becoming one flesh. Throughout creation, the only combination that produces children is that of a man and a woman. See Psalm 127
- Proclaiming the Gospel – Through your words and actions as a married couple, you proclaim the Gospel to those in unbelief. Unbelievers certainly do get married, but only believers proclaim Christ through their marriage. Ephesians 5:22-33 compares the relationship between a husband and wife to that of the relationship between Christ and His Church. When the husband willingly gives of himself toward his wife; and when a wife willingly serves her husband in response; then the relationship resembles that of Christ and the Church, and the Gospel is proclaimed to the world. See Colossians 3:19 and 1 Peter 3:5-7
As you celebrate marriage in the coming months, whether in the vows exchanged for the
first time, or if it is the remembrance of those vows made years ago; give thanks to God that He has instituted the office of marriage, and for the many blessings that flow forth from it.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt