This past Saturday we had a joyous wedding at Forrest Hill. One of our Korean ladies, Hazel, was marrying her partner of 5 years, Steve [a Kiwi]. I love weddings and am amazed that we reformed evangelicals don’t include marriage in the list of sacraments (a visible act that is a sign of an invisible reality). I have been using the wedding scene where Jesus turned water into wine [John 2:1-12] as the basis of my wedding sermons for the last three or four weddings, and while in each case the setting and the participants backgrounds were very different, the message that God can effect a similar transformation in the marital relationship holds true. What follows is the latest version of that message:
Weddings are a scene of the miraculous, a place where God cheerfully invades. There’s a lot of talk about promises, a lot of expressions of hope, both in words and in symbols and symbolic gestures. It’s the scene of a wonderful event in which two people become united in a unique relationship; a whole new family starts right here.
So it should not surprise us that for the apostle John, the first of the great miracles should take place at a wedding. It was an event that had probably been going on for two or three days, and to the embarrassment of the host, the groom’s father, they had started to run out of wine. Jesus’ mother tries to get Him to do something about it, knowing that He could if He chose. After an initial reluctance Jesus asks the servants to bring Him large containers filled with water, which He then turns into wine; better wine than anyone had tasted before at that feast or at any other time; enhancing the celebration with an unexpected blessing.
John intended his record of Jesus’ miracles to be signs of deeper and wider realities. So we can say that this demonstrates how the clear water of an ordinary relationship can be transformed into the red wine of an enduring and enriching marriage.
The faith and love of an extraordinary being, of Christ, brings an unexpected dimension to the scene and the same transcendent qualities can enrich and enliven the dullest and most threatened marriage. A recovery of trust and of selflessness can refresh your relationship and aid it through those times that stretch the patience and energy of either or both of you. It can also add a breadth and scope of kindness that attracts friends and supporters in quite surprising ways – while some will mock your evident affection and devotion to each other, but there are those who will find it refreshing and hope-giving for their own life-plans.
In the last four decades there has been an ongoing tussle between the genders to decide if one or the other is superior, or deserves priority – what if there was a another, a transcendent, Divine third party who exceeded both of you in wisdom, compassion and endurance; to whom you could refer in times of need and of stress; who could lead you to times of the deepest of joys, and times of the most generous patience and kindness. Who comes first would then be irrelevant as an objective Presence, the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, guided, encouraged and enriched, your relationship and every moment it endured and prospered on this Earth.
That Presence is He who first changed water to wine, Jesus, who by His Spirit still takes the ordinary water of human relationship and turns into the miracle of a stunning and fulfilling and hope-giving marital friendship between a very fortunate man and woman.
So from now on it’s a great adventure for you both, going into life as husband and wife, hand in hand with the eternal, loving and unalterable presence of the living God.
Back to surfing the “ordinary” world of changed lives and transformed relationships.