Thursday, December 12, 2013

Twenty-one Years

Today my wife and I celebrate our survival of twenty-one years together as husband and wife.

Yesterday she was astonished to realize that she had forgotten our wedding anniversary until yesterday.  She shared this with me and I was startled to realize that while I thought of it all last month and even most of last week, that it had disappeared from my thoughts that day as well.

Ouch!  What a powerful reminder of our dysfunctional ways on account of our frailty as sinful humans!

On the other hand, it also serves as a powerful reminder of who has joined us as one and who it is that preserves us as one.

How I wish that I lived in full acknowledgment of the man and husband that the Lord has made me to be by His gracious decree.  My life surely does not serve as a witness to His gracious gifts and promises.  My faithfulness to my wife is sadly lacking.  Thankfully, it is not my faithfulness that matters.  Thankfully, she knows this, too.

As a concluding portion of our wedding worship service, I shared this promise and confession:

My dear bride, Stephanie,

     Today I have made to you a very bold promise, to be to you a true and faithful husband.  This promise I do not make in my own name, for I know that on the basis of my own name I am but a bum.  But I also bear another Name, the Name of my Lord Christ, and in His Name I am a prince.  And so, in the Name of my Lord Christ I will be to you your prince.

I have been true to my word.  By my own name and efforts I have been a bum.  I cannot even number the ways in which I have failed my bride as her husband.  I certainly have not been faithful in forsaking all others besides the Lord.  How many times have I put myself and my desires and my emotions above her?  How many times have I selfishly enumerated her shortcomings?  How many times have I counted as shortcomings her personal needs of body, heart, mind, and spirit?

Thanks be to God that she remembers the latter part of my promise.  Thanks be to God that she counts me as a good and loving and faithful husband not because of what I say and do, but because of the Lord’s gracious decree.

And this is what she continually reminds me as what she counts as the reason for me being a blessing in her life.  She reminds me that as her husband and also as her pastor I direct her the Lord and his grace, mercy, and peace.  She does count me as a prince for His sake.

What a wonderfully refreshing reminder this serves us regarding Christ and His Church.  What we observe Him doing for us is what He does for His beloved bride.  In fact, what He does for us flows directly from what He does for His dear bride.  This is what St. Paul blessedly proclaims in Ephesians 5:21-33.

The Lord’s goodness is displayed in everything, and especially in the one-flesh union of His Church that is reflected in our one-flesh union that we celebrate this day.  Truly it is a happy and blessed anniversary!

+ + +

No comments: