Wedding Sermon / Chris & Sandra Hildebrand / Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 - Pastor Ted Giese / Mount Olive Lutheran Church - December 12th 2020
Wedding Sermon / Chris & Sandra Hildebrand / Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Saturday December 12th 2020: Season of Advent / Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 "Lifted up in Love"
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. Chris and Sandra “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” This is what King Solomon, David’s Son, says in Ecclesiastes, he continues to say, “For if they fall, the one will lift up the other. But woe to the one who is alone when they fall and has not another to lift them up!” Marriage doesn’t work if you’re not there to lift each other up. If you fall down and the other isn’t there to pick you back up again the good reward will spoil. Now you might say ‘this is common sense’ and that is true but as you know ‘common sense isn’t all that common these days,’ however I think the two of you have gained this wisdom and as I’ve gotten to know you both together I see how the two of you are there for each other to lift the other up. You both know what it’s like to fall down and you appreciate the love that comes from the hand that reaches out and takes hold of you and lifts you back up and puts you back on your feet. The World loves to kick us when we are down so it is important to get up a quick as possible: and having you husband there, having your wife there, to lift you up is essential; you will have fewer kicks from the World the faster they help you up. This is love in action.
This passage we heard from the wisdom of King Solomon in the Bible ended with the words, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken,” here we understand that the a Christian marriage is not simply a husband and a wife, that would only be two cords, no, the Christian marriage has a Third Cord and that Third Cord is the LORD. God is the Third Cord in your marriage. What happens when you both fall down? Then you need a Third One to lift you up, to keep you lifted up. Today you are being woven together into this threefold cord. You seek the blessing of God on your marriage and today He gives it. He is the One who promises to lift you up. Now, it’s possible to slap away the hand that reaches out to help you up. To say ‘no, no … I’ve got this, I can get up myself,’ and with your pride intact you might slowly be able to get up with the boots of the World kicking at you the whole time. And it’s also possible for the husband and wife to both fall down at once and slap away the hand of God when He reaches out, as He promises, to lift them both back up together, saying, ‘no, no … we’ve got this, we can get up ourselves,’ and so you see how this works. And so you see how this doesn’t work.
Chris and Sandra these words are for you, you have lived them, you know them, but they are also for your children. The pandemic has its boots on and it is kicking, but dear ones listen carefully: your parents have suffered the sharp kicks of the World in these dark days and they have had to make compromises when it comes to a lot of the extras that normally come with weddings, they have let go of many things, changed many plans, because having the blessing of God on their marriage is ultimately more important than the things that the World values and lifts up. The Christian life is not without trouble and suffering, the question is how we live in the midst of it. Do we live lives of love, trusting the hand that reaches out to lift us up? Do we put aside our self interest, pride and personal comfort to extend our hand to lift up others? Do we cling fast to the Hand of God when He grabs hold of us to lift us up? Jesus knows hardship and He promises to walk with you in your challenges every step of the way, just as He has done in the past. Jesus knows joy and happiness and He promises to walk with you in your joy and happiness every step of the way, just as He has done in the past: Just as He will do in the days and years to come. Remember it is a nail pierced hand that gives us comfort in our deepest time of need; a nail pierced hand that lifts you up to your joy and happiness this day.
We wish more people could be gathered in person to share in this joy and happiness today and we understand why we cannot: Chris and Sandra, for you and for your children, for the small group gathered here and for all those watching through a little window online or who will watch this later I leave you with these words from St. Paul about the nature of Christian love … this is how Jesus loves us, how Christ Jesus loves you, and it is how we are to love each other, and in marriage the one closest to you is your wife, your husband, they will be your biggest and most present opportunity to show love, so hear these words and take them to heart: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Chris and Sandra let the light of your love in Christ Jesus so shine before others that it brings glory to God the Father in heaven. Be strong and courageous, the LORD your God goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. 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.
 John 20:27
 1 Corinthians 13:4–8
 Matthew 5:16
 Deuteronomy 31:6
Unsplash Photos credits: Wedding Couple Holding Hands by Nathan Dumlao; Couple on Beach at Sunset by Polina Rytova; Couple Reading Bible Together by Cassidy Rowell.