Heather Yanke and Jonathan Lunneberg Wedding Sermon

Text: John 2:1-11
Date: June 26, 2009
Grace Lutheran Church, Redford Township, MI

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Dear family and friends, Deb and Roy, Alice, kids, and especially you, Heather and Jonathan, peace be to you, and grace, from Him who freed us from our sins, and God’s blessings to you on this your wedding day. It is a day we’ve been looking forward to and preparing for, and today, here it is.

Part of that preparation has been the happy discovery of the hospitality of Pastor Timothy Halboth and of Grace Lutheran Church here in Redford Township so that your wedding could be performed in the context of a service of worship. And we thank you and Grace congregation, Pastor Halboth.

Because your wedding is being done in the context of a service of worship of the Triune God, you are witnessing and giving testimony and saying to the world what is most important and most essential to your being as baptized Christians and, we pray today, to your new being as the brand new marriage person being created today called Heather and Jon Lunneberg. For, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps. 127:1).

As such it is my treasured honor to preach the sermon for this service of worship. I don’t know how many weddings I have presided over in the past 30 years, but, of course, this one is different, unique, at least for me. As father and mother of the groom certainly memories of all the years leading to this moment flood the private minutes of contemplation. And I’m sure the same is true for the parents of the bride. But this isn’t the time for that. Neither is this the time for any last minute counseling or advice for the wedding couple. Rather, like Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, we can also say that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what [we] did here.” For what we do here is nothing short of calling on God’s creative, redemptive power to create and bless this brand new marriage person. For here is someone the world has never known before, and someone who will influence the world and leave a legacy the significance and extent to which we can only now imagine.

For this is how God, who “invented” the whole idea of marriage in the first place, tells us is the essence of the marriage relationship when he speaks of “the two becoming one flesh,” that is, the one brand new person of God’s creation and blessing. Beginning today both of you together begin to get to know this new person, this new marriage person who is more than merely the sum of “one plus one” but is more—I always say like putting two dimes together and getting a quarter—more interesting, more creative, more empowered, more joyful, more everything!

Why did our Lord perform “the first of His signs” or miracles at a wedding? Some might be tempted to look for some deep, hidden meaning or significance, calling up the images of Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as the Bride of Christ, or other significant parallels between the marriage relationship and the gift of salvation. And indeed, such is what the Apostle Paul has in mind when he sounds like he’s giving marriage advice in Ephesians 5 where he says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” and “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” But then he surprises us and says, “This mystery is profound, [but] I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” “But,” he adds, “let each one of you [also] love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:22, 25, 32-33). But this isn’t yet the reason Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding.

The answer to the question is more like the answer to the crazy question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Answer? “To get to the other side.” That is, Jesus performed his first miracle at this wedding simply because there was a need and He was moved to do something about it. I mean, running out of wine at the reception, while a problem, isn’t, after all, an issue of life and death! (Is it?) And yet, when His mother Mary brought it to His attention, then, without asking or even knowing what He was going to do, she issued the invitation of faith telling the servants, simply, “Do whatever He tells you.” “Do whatever He tells you.” That is the attitude of trusting faith in the loving God who desires only the best blessings to you because you belong to Him.

What I take away from this reading is that, while we certainly look to God alone for deliverance from the biggest problem of life, namely, sin and death, still He is interested and we can look to God also for those “little” needs, those things we think, maybe, we shouldn’t or don’t want to bother God about. Here He was simply “saving” the bridegroom from embarrassment and providing for the further joy of the gathering.

And that gets us to the prayer and desire, the blessing and wish of a pastor for the wedding couple, of a dad and father-in-law, and a mom and mother-in-law for their son and daughter: to trust in God’s blessing and design in every aspect of your new relationship, from the biggest to the smallest needs or difficulties, questions or challenges, conflicts or troubles, joys or blessings. We—your parents, your family, your friends, your brothers and sisters in Christ—wish for you every joy and blessing, smooth sailing, happiness and everything good. And we all pledge to you also to be there with you to support you and continue to surround you with our love.

In this way we reflect and remind you of God’s great, never-ending love for you that has the power the bring you through every joy and blessing, challenge and trial. For as our Lord and Savior showed His love and care and provision in this little incident at a wedding in Cana, this relatively “small” need, so did He show the ultimate reaches of His love when He fulfilled that for which He came to earth, the giving of His holy life on the Cross, canceling the sin of the whole world, opening the kingdom of eternal life to everyone who comes to Him and believes.

So now it’s time to sing with joyful abandon,
to begin the duet that turns into a magnificent symphony of melodies,
a composition of God, strong to save and to bless;
may the joy of this day accompany your living out of your vows of faithfulness that together you will become, more and more, a magnum opus of God,
reflecting His joy, His glory and His love for you and for the whole world.
Rev. Allen D. Lunneberg