Sermon for Saturday, February 12, 2011|| The Celebration and Blessing of the Marriage of Leah Johnson and Adam Thomas||
The Rev. Margot D. Critchfield
I can’t believe we’re standing here! I’m still stunned that Adam’s here at all, much less that he’s about to marry the girl who, after one date, he haltingly told me he had a feeling he was going to marry—smiling sheepishly and adding, “and she’s really pretty, too!”
Anyone who doubts that God is a God of surprises, or that with God all things are possible, has only to look at the story of Adam and Leah! In one short year, God not only called Adam to St Stephen’s—which was nothing short of a miracle in itself—but within weeks of his arriving here He brought Adam and Leah together in a series of “holy” coincidences that could convince even the most serious of skeptics that God is alive and well and active in the lives of those who invite Him to be. Because God’s hand is all over this relationship…to the point of being uncanny.
And that is a truly awesome thing. It’s an awesome thing to realize so clearly that what’s happening here today is happening not because of luck or fate or even because you, Adam and Leah, want it to, but because God wants it to. To realize that you two didn’t just “find” each other, but that God called you together. That’s huge! And I don’t think there’s anyone here who doubts for a minute that God called you together for a reason. God has a plan for you two. God has a plan for your marriage.
Whenever I do a wedding, I make a point of telling the couple why we’re doing what we’re doing, and what makes it so fundamentally different from a civil wedding. I want them to understand that when we go up to that altar we’re not only going to marry them “in the eyes of God”, but more importantly we’re going to take their new relationship as husband and wife and we’re going to give it to God. Think about that: We’re going to give Adam and Leah’s marriage to God. That makes it God’s, not theirs.
And then what God’s going to do is bless this marriage and entrust Adam and Leah with taking care of it–with being good stewards of it, nurturing it, and insuring that it’s a source of life and grace for them and for others. Adam and Leah will be the caretakers of this marriage, but from that moment on it will essentially belong to God, not them.
And this is where all of you come in. Because there’s no way that Adam and Leah or anyone else could bear the burden or the joy of this responsibility alone. It is a gift to be shared. Which is why, whether you realize it or not, you took a vow of your own a few minutes ago. You promised to do all in your power to uphold Adam and Leah in this marriage. That means that as their brothers and sisters in Christ, you will support them and lift them up as they go about the business of learning how best to care for this precious gift with which God has entrusted them. Remember that they would not be here today were it not for all of you, so they’re going to need your wisdom, your candor, and your humor as they continue to faithfully discern where God is calling them as a couple for the rest of their lives.
Now, some of you may not know that in addition to everything else Adam does, he writes a daily meditation online. And in the one from yesterday he wrote about what he called the “sparkling laughter of joy.” So I’d like to conclude with a few of Adam’s own words, written in a completely different context, but curiously—and delightfully –appropriate for this one:
Adam, Leah: As you begin your life together as husband and wife, I pray you that you will, “Laugh for the joy that God is calling you to love and serve God, and each other. Laugh for the thankfulness that God equips you for this loving service. And laugh for the faith that nothing is impossible and nothing is too wonderful for the LORD.”
Because of this you are living proof. Amen.