Jonathan and Allie

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Grace and peace to you, from God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. And having extended and received that scriptural blessing, let us stop to consider what it might mean for us, and how it applies to a joyous event like this wedding.

The apostle Paul is thoroughly Trinitarian in his expressions, as we see throughout his letters. For example, he tells us that God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba, Father (Gal. 4:6). The Father gives the Spirit to us, and the Spirit that He gives is the Spirit of Jesus. This means that the Lord Jesus is also a giver of this remarkable gift.

But given this, it is curious that Paul’s letters frequently begin by mentioning (by name) just the Father and the Son. He says things like “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7). He begins all his letters this way, with the exception of the pastoral epistles, where he modifies it only slightly, saying, “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Tim. 1:2). Why is the Spirit not mentioned by name?

I believe the reason the Spirit is not mentioned as one of the three givers is because He is the gift itself. He is the grace; He is the peace. In biblical theology, the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and this means that, in this context, in this economy of grace, there are two givers and one gift. That one gift is the means by which the two givers give themselves. He is their Spirit, after all. The grace and peace are from the Father, as is the Spirit. The grace and peace are from the Son, as with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of grace and peace.

Now we learn something else about this from the apostle Peter, when he uses this striking expression of grace and peace. He asks that this grace and peace be multiplied (1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:2). But how can grace and peace be multiplied?

As you have noticed, this is a double wedding, with two couples exchanging their vows. What is this but grace and peace multiplied? Grace and peace are not impersonal spiritual forces. Grace and peace are not measured in yards, voltage, or metric tons. We have seen that grace and peace are a personal reality; grace and peace are a Person. They are a way of partaking in relationship. Grace and peace are therefore multiplied for us in the multiplication of such relationships.

Can relationships be multiplied? The answer is certainly. Can your relationship with just one other person be multiplied? Again, the answer is certainly. As God blesses you with children, your relationship with one another will be deepened, developed, enriched. Jonathan, today you are becoming a husband. Allie, today you are becoming a wife. But when grace and peace are multiplied, for example, you are privileged to become the father or mother of one another one’s children. And each new relationship is intended to deepen and enrich all the previous relationships. Relationships, when understood rightly, are not a zero sum game, where more over here means less over there. May grace and peace be multiplied.

We are finite creatures, and one of the ways that God pictures His infinite nature is by granting us the ability of reproduction. As more and more individuals come into being, by His grace, we get a greater and greater sense of how far and how deep His grace and peace extend. When we worship, we come to the great assembly, and to an innumerable company of angels (Heb. 12:22). And the apostle John saw the number of redeemed before the throne of God, and it was a multitude that no one could actually count (Rev. 7:9). In an innumerable host, how many relationships are present? This is grace and peace multiplied, and it is a dim and flickering image of the everlasting grace and peace within the Godhead.

The comparative rarity of double weddings like this one might obscure from us the fact that every wedding is actually a double wedding. An individual man becomes one with another person, his bride, and calls her bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. A bride leaves her father’s house, and comes to a man to complete him, to fulfill him. She doubles his joys, but she does not do this except by the noble task of doubling him. Jonathan and Allie this is a double wedding in the obvious sense, but it is also, with just the two of you, a double wedding. The same goes for Andy and Emily.

So Jonathan, I charge you here to assume the responsibilities of shepherding the grace of God in your household. I charge you to undertake gladly the role of being the guardian of the peace of your household. You are a gifted man, and a hard-working one. Always remember that authority flows to those who take responsibility under Christ, and the assumption of your responsibility is right at the heart of what this ceremony means. This is an investiture of authority, and you are taking it on with a solemn oath and vow. You are not the crown—Allie is—but you are receiving a crown.

Allie, you are the place where the doubling is registered and manifested. You are the crown of your husband; you are to be his glory. He is the steward of grace; you are to be that grace. He is the guardian of peace; you are to be at peace, and not give way to fear. Be like Sarah, who honored her husband. He is the great angel outside the garden of Eden, protecting it—you are that Eden. He is the Levite, protecting the temple, safe-guarding it. You are to be that temple. And in this spirit, and in this joy, when he comes to you, welcome him home.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.



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