Last night, I officiated a wedding between two people who mean a great deal to me and my family. James Sellen and Lexy Stark (now, James and Lexy Sellen) have been a part of my life for over four years now. I have been their supervisor, resident director, mentor and friend. They spent many hours watching my son during Liam's first year of life, and Megan and I were able to be part of their journey as they have gone from friends to dating to engaged to married. It has been a privilege and I am really excited to have been part of their wedding.
Marriage is a gift. God has given it to his people for many reasons, but I don't have space to discuss them all, so this is not going to be a theological treatise on marriage. I do want to say a few words about its beauty and its purpose though. Marriage began with Adam and Eve, the first marriage. Adam had been created and it was clear to God that "it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him." Adam and Eve were created in such a way that they complimented one another perfectly. They were "fit" for one another. Sin came and marred that first marriage, and every marriage since. But the gift God had given to humanity would continue through the generations.
Marriage is often referenced throughout the Bible as a picture of God's relationship to his people. Whether it be in the prophets or in Paul's letters, the Scriptures paint a picture of God's relationship to his people being like a marriage. We can learn about how to love our spouse when we consider how God has loved us. "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16)." We know love because God loved us through Jesus. When we recognize that truth, it will lead us to love one another well, to lay down our lives for one another and consider our spouse's needs above our own.
We learn how to behave in our marriages when we remember God's love, but our marriages also paint a picture for the people around us of God's love. When we love sacrificially, it says something about the sacrificial love of Jesus. When we prioritize the needs of our spouse, it says something about how God has prioritized our need for salvation by sending Jesus. Our marriages have the ability to communicate the goodness of the gospel, what a scary and awesome privilege!
I enjoyed officiating James and Lexy's wedding last night, because I have observed this kind of love and character in their lives. Megan and I have spent many hours with them doing pre-martial counseling over the past six months. What we often planned to be one and a half hour sessions turned into three hours around our kitchen table or on our living room sofas. I have seen a deep desire in them to continue growing in their relationship and their love for Jesus.
They are not perfect. No person or marriage is perfect. But they have a deep and abiding hope in the good work that Jesus can do in their lives. There is nothing more important to a marriage than two people who recognize the flaws in one another, are committed to the covenant they make and maintain a constant hope in the gospel of Jesus.
I consider it a privilege and an honor to have been part of their wedding. Would you take a moment right now and pray for James and Lexy and their marriage? And if you know James and Lexy, please feel free to leave a comment below about your own appreciation for them.