A wedding ceremony is an imaging ceremony. This is the case because a wedding is made a wedding by virtue of the fact that it consists of a man and a woman, coming together as man and wife. We are told in Scripture, in various ways that this is an imaging of God.
The first thing that we should note about it is that man is not capable of making an image of God, which is why Jehovah prohibits even the attempt in the second commandment (Ex. 20:4-5). Underneath the prohibition we should be able to recognize the fact that we cannot make images of God for the simple reason that we are images of God.
As Protestants, we sometimes make the point that our sanctuaries do not contain images of God, but in reality the sanctuaries were built to contain hundreds of such images. We have roofs in order to keep rain off of these images, and we have furnaces to keep these images warm in the winter. We don’t make images of God because we have plenty of them—they are all around us.
Not only is the human race created in the image of God, but Scripture makes a particular point out of the salient fact that this image consists of the fact that we are made male and female in that image. And this aspect of it, this reality, is thrown into high relief at a wedding. We are celebrating yet another iteration of God’s glory. We are marking the formation of yet one more statement of how good God is to us.
Consider the following:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27).
“For a man . . . is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man” (1 Cor. 11:7).
Together man and woman constitute the image of God. Individually, a man reflects that glory and image, and the woman is the glory (again, reflected glory) of the man.
Not only are we images of God, but we are dynamic images—not static images. In other words, because we are created in time, because we live out our lives together in a story, we are not like paintings on a canvas, or like carved marble. No, God shaped Adam from the dust of the ground, and then breathed the breath of life into him. God took the woman from the man’s side, and presented her to him as bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. This meant that she also had the breath of life in her.
Wedding pictures are wonderful, but they are, admittedly, frozen in time. Wedding videos capture a bit more motion, but they are still just a snippet, a chain of moments linked together. We are gathering together here today in order to see how God takes wedding pictures. As we will hear in just a moment, the pictures will be ready, they will be complete, when death brings the parting that is necessary for those who live in this world. Between this moment and that one, we are privileged to see and take note of how God’s image, male and female, moves in the world.
Because God is infinite, we know that one marriage cannot capture it, and so we look around at the other marriages we can see. We look in faith, at our own marriages. When we do, we see constancy and variation. We see form and freedom. We see the interplay of a serious playfulness, and the counterpoint of a cheerful solemnity. We have a lot to learn, and most of it is all around us.
Because God is fruitful and giving, we see marriages resulting in children, born to us male and female. And why? So that a boy can grow to manhood, leave his father and mother, and take a woman as wife, who has grown to that noble station from girlhood. God has been telling this story for 6,000 years, and it looks as though He intends to tell it for many more. He has not grown tired of it yet, and neither should we.
Micah, as you prepare to take these vows, your charge is this. In the Christian life, all right doing proceeds from being. There is a perennial temptation that men have, and that is the temptation to reverse this. We want to achieve, or strive, or earn our way into a particular status. But the status you will have in just a few moments—that of being a husband—is a status that is being given to you, and all by the grace of God. When that status is given, a husband is what you will then be. You want all your activities to proceed from the fact that you are a husband. You are charged to flow out into your marriage, and most emphatically not to try to fill up from your marriage. This is just another way of urging you to a life of giving, and not taking. Of course, because we are creatures, we must be filled, but get your filling from the Spirit of God, who rests upon you. Kelsey will give to you more than can possibly imaging, but the best way to receive it will be the result of you giving her more than she could possibly imagine.
Kelsey, as you prepare to take your vows, the charge is this. Together you and your husband are to reflect the glory of God. Individually, you are to reflect the glory of your husband. And because of how God designed this, when you reflect your husband’s glory, this goes not make your glory dim and derivative. Rather, because God designed it to work in this way, your glory is given to your husband in order to amplify it. That amplification means that it is occurring in time; it is not static, not fixed. And that means that glory, like grace and peace, is going to be multiplied to you, and through you, to him.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.