St. Thomas Lutheran Church
The Rev. Wynemah Hinlicky
He said, she said: “I do.” “I do.” It was my privilege and joy to hear these wedding vows exchanged on three separate occasions this summer. The first was in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where we celebrated our daughter Mikaela’s marriage and welcomed son-in-law Ryan. Then it was off to the Sonoma Valley … (aka wine country) … in California for the daughter of a dear friend. Most recently, a trip to the “Windy City” of Chicago, IL afforded us the opportunity to gather again as family with our nephew and Godson, Samuel, in celebration of his wedding to the beautiful Gianna. Whether in a renovated barn, vineyard or church, joy was palpable as love permeated the occasion. What a privilege to witness, not once but three times.
As with any public testimony of intentions promised, vows made and rings exchanged, the marriage ceremony is intended for all present to witness and affirm; perhaps, even, to recall their own taken on a separate occasion. It also serves as a reminded that those united in Christian marriage are to be witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the description of this sacred service reads in the Evangelical Lutheran Book of Worship:
Marriage is a gift of God, intended for the joy and mutual strength of those who enter it and for the well-being of the whole human family. God created us male and female and blessed humankind with the gifts of companionship, the capacity to love, and the care and nurture of children. Jesus affirmed the covenant of marriage and revealed God’s own self-giving love on the cross. The Holy Spirit helps those who are united in marriage to be living signs of God’s grace, love, and faithfulness.
Whether married, single, divorced, engaged, or widowed, the same is true for all who are united to Christ in Holy Baptism. In this blessed sacrament, God promises to have and to hold us … in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health … to be faithful to us unto death, which cannot even separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rms 8:39). God marks us with the cross of Christ as a sign of this sure and solemn vow, serving as a ring of eternal life shared between us and The Holy Trinity. Each time we gather around the Word and Sacraments; each time we make the sign of the cross upon ourselves; each time we extend grace, love, and faithfulness; it is as though, with the help of the Holy Spirit, each time serves as a daily privilege and joy for us to offer a living “I do” in response.
“Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder. Amen. Thanks be to God!”
Sharing in Christ’s ministry,
+ Pastor Wynemah