October 29th, 2017


(On a 45 degree day with 20-mile-per-hour winds for an outdoor wedding at Raffaldini Winery in Elkin, I greatly abbreviated the ceremony and meditation for Colton and Kimberly.  Here’s what I had planned to say!)

Colton and Kimberly, on this day when you formally choose each other, I want to thank you for choosing me!  There are lots of pastors out there, and I am blessed to be yours.  My prayer is that we will grow closer in the years to come, and that I will be part of your family.

I love that you chose this vineyard for your wedding, because it reminds me that Jesus’ first miracle was not only at a wedding – the miracle itself was turning water into wine.  Jesus showed us that he cares about weddings – the big picture and the details.

I doubt if you’re thinking about church history very much on your wedding day, but I am.  This coming Tuesday is the 500th anniversary of one of the most important events in modern history, church or otherwise.  On Halloween 1517, Martin Luther posted on the church door 95 theses, or statements for debate.

One of the important parts of Luther’s story is that he got married.  He said his primary motivation was “to spite the devil.”  How would that be for a romantic proposal?  I’m mad at the devil I’m going to marry you!  Actually, I think marriage can be a lot about spiting the devil.  I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Let’s first talk about you.  Colton, you succeed at sales because you’re positive, goal-oriented, and committed. Don’t forget to bring those qualities home.  When you’re with Kimberly, focus on being the best husband you can be in the same way you focus on your customer at the office.

Kimberly, as an accountant, you know how important it is that the books balance.  To make that happen, details are important.  This relationship needs someone who pays attention to the little things.  Don’t expect him to be like you.  You be the one who balances your lives – balance between work and family, balance between thinking about the future and living in the present, balance between the dream of what you want and the reality of where you live.

That’s going to take a lot of grace for both of you.  In the Scripture I read, Paul said you have been saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves – it is God’s gift.  You can’t do this on your own.  You need the Lord, and you need his church.  Too many people try to live life without God and try to do relationships without God.  Marriage, too, must be by grace.

One of the reasons marriage can be so hard is that the partners forget they’re married to a flawed human being.  We’re always forgetting to extend grace.  I learned something this weekend about vineyards.  Did you know there’s a saying among viticulturalists: “The worse the soil, the better the wine.”  That’s a great lesson about grace too, isn’t?  On those days when you look at each other and think, “You’re driving me crazy,” remember, “the worse the soil the better the wine.”

That’s how I think you can spite the devil.  He’s going to want to divide you from each other – to make marriage about being happy, about getting your own way, about changing your partner, about making sure you don’t do more than your fair share in the marriage.

You can spite the devil by making your marriage about grace, about forgiveness, about unconditional love.  Make the devil miserable by loving each other the way Christ has loved you. Spite the devil by staying married…and working at it…until you die.  Amen.

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