Wedding Sermon / Cornell & Jodi Srochenski / Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 & 1 John 4:19 - Pastor Ted Giese / Mount Olive Lutheran Church - September 9th 2017
Wedding Sermon - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 & 1 John 4:19 / Cornell & Jodi Srochenski / Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese /
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends, Jodi and Cornell. There are three kinds of contracts - covenants - that you find in the Bible. There are parity contracts where the two parties are equals, where they both vow to uphold their equal parts of the contract. This kind of covenant is the first kind that comes to mind when we think of marriage these days. If one side fails to uphold their side of the covenant then the contract is jeopardised and these days depending on the severity of failure many people will council a married couple to then break the contract. In Ecclesiastes King Solomon points out one of the benefits of this kind of equal party covenant when he says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift [the other up].”
The second kind of contract – covenant – is a suzerainty contract. This is a contract with unequal parties where the greater more powerful party dictates to the weaker party: Basically an unconditional surrender. This is way outside of today’s picture of marriage. In fact Jesus says, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be servant of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Tuck that last bit from Jesus away for just a minute we’ll return to it.
The third kind of contract – covenant – you find in the Bible is called a patronage contract. When King Solomon in his wisdom says, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” He is pointing to this kind of Biblical Contact. In this kind, in the patronage contract the more powerful party promises to give something to the weaker party without payment, without making the weaker party give anything to receive the promise. What is given truly is a gift. It costs the more powerful party but it is simply graciously received by the weaker party. The weaker party doesn’t earn it, pay for it, or merit it. It is all grace.
As you all walked into the nave of the church to find your seat, you walked past a sign with a quote from 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” Jodi and Cornell chose to have that quote placed there to tell you something about their love for each other, a love that is rooted in God’s love for them. This also dovetails into that third kind of Covenant, the covenant of love that God has towards Cornell and Jodi in their life as Christians and particularly today as God makes Himself to be that third cord in their threefold cord of Christian Marriage, the covenant made today. Jodi you are one cord, Cornell you are another (this is the parity contract – the contract between equals – a good one, a strong one, but ultimately less strong without Christ Jesus). Here we return to what Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus’ wiliness and His actual accomplishment of this in obedience to His Heavenly Father is love, not romantic love, but eternal, unending, everlasting love. Saint John in 1 John 4:9-11 explains it like this, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [atoning, all sufficient sacrifice, price and payment] for our sins.” And then John adds, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” That is the strength of the third cord for you, in life and in your married life; this is the patronage covenant that God, in His Son Christ Jesus, graciously gives you this day.
When you fail to uphold the equal parts of your vows to each other, when you fail to be a Christ like servant to each other, remember God’s love towards you and turn to the contract God has made with you in His Son, His gracious and merciful forgiving patronage covenant which will be the source of the strength of your marriage. A love that will transcend the legalistic attitudes of the world and our present society, a true love grounded in Christ Jesus; a love greater than modern notions of romantic love.
May your life together, blessed by God this day bring equal parts, passion and compassion, steadfast love, mercy and forgiveness – I pray this for you with all my heart, a prayer to the one, Christ Jesus, who desires this very thing for you both. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Mark 10:42-45
 Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”