The Rev. Paul J Cain
Close to Christ
50th Anniversary of Vernon and Betty Jo David
Saturday of Pentecost I
21 June 2014
Centennial Story Park, Story, WY, 3 p.m.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Vern, Betty Jo, and honored guests:
In preparation for this joyful occasion, I revisited the bulletins for June of 1964 at Immanuel Lutheran, Sheridan. On Sunday June 21, Pastor Eckelman of beloved memory preached on Romans 8:18-23 at Immanuel’s morning services on the theme “The Believer’s Eternal Hope.” The following Sunday he preached on the theme “How to Have Pleasant Days” on the basis of 1 Peter 3:10-15. How does a marriage last fifty years? Remaining Close to Christ, having a common eternal hope in Jesus, seeking peace in Christ for your marriage, being in the Word, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another as the Lord has forgiven you.
This rite this afternoon is not a remarriage, but rather a time of rejoicing in God’s gift of marriage and asking for His blessings. The Lord has blessed you with a supportive family, children, and friends to celebrate with you today.
The Lord also blesses you with His Word and His visible Word, the Sacraments, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Hear His Word for you this day from Colossians 3.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Lutherans don’t consider marriage to be a sacrament because for us, a sacrament must deliver the forgiveness of sins. Marriage doesn’t do that. But marriage couldn’t survive without the forgiveness of sins, especially not for fifty years.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The Word of Christ dwells in you richly when you regularly dwell and always speak about spiritual things at home. Love is an action and not merely an emotion. Christ loves us. He doesn’t only have love for us, but actually loved us enough to take loving action for us in His teaching, ministry, suffering, crucifixion, death, Resurrection, and continuing ministry to you here and now.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
In the bulletin for June 28, 1964, there was the following announcement: “United in holy matrimony this past week were…Vernon David and Betty Jo Fitzgerald on Sunday afternoon. May the Lord who has concecrated these rites holy / keep these couples close to Him, their Creator and Redeemer.” Amen. The Lord keeps His promises. Pr. Eckelman’s prayer for you have been fulfilled.
The Lord has blessed you with fifty years to love and serve one another. Marriage takes work. You two share the kind of commitment love that endures even after romantic love fades. You love one another and your family because God loved you first in Christ. The Lord bless you with many more years of wedded love and faithfulness. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.