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It’s summer, July actually, the months are flying by.

It is very strange to think that I will have no real “transition” in September.  No school.  Granted, I have experienced this once before, but at that time, it really didn’t hit me like it’s doing now.  For me, the seasons have now become differentiated around temperature, not school.  In other words, my “summer” will last as long as the temperature stays above 60 degrees.  It’s a nice thought.  I’m hoping for summer to stick around at least through October, but I live in the Midwest, so here’s wishing.

So back to summer.  It’s definitely wedding season.  I have attended three weddings so far this summer, and I have stood in all three, all as a groomsman.  I have thoroughly enjoyed that role, mainly because you don’t really have to do anything except look nice.  To a modest degree, that I can handle.

A friend once told me that groomsman are third-class wedding material; they are accessories.  Groomsman are accessories to the bridesmaids, who are in turn accessories to the bride.  In rank of order, that makes us number three.  I’ve always wondered where the groom fits in.

I would consider myself to have six close friends.  I suppose you can call them “best friends”, but that is a messy term, and more apt for playground politics.  This number does not include siblings or mentors, but simply peers of my gender with whom I have been blessed with good, long-lasting friendship.  To make an extensive story manageable, five out of the six have been married in the past eight months, all to beautiful, Godly women.  I was able to celebrate with most of them, and as previously noted, I stood in three of the weddings, which was truly an honor.

 Marriages are a wonderful thing, and the more I experience them, the more I grow to revere the institution.  I find it wonderful and fitting that God Himself preformed the first marriage by giving Eve away to Adam.  I find it even more honoring that the apostle Paul give marriage the amazing office of representation for Christ’s relationship to the church.

Marriage has form and function.  The form of marriage is Christ-centered love.  The function of marriage is to live out the aforementioned truth as living witnesses of Christ.

Marriages are as missional as they are Christ-centered.  The mission of marriage is to radiate the love of Christ and the church through the radiation of love, compassion, grace, etc. towards each other.  This is an extremely powerful testimony, especially in an age where marriage is so strongly thwarted, namely, “one man to one woman for life.”  Now, I do not say this to say that Christian marriages are always perfect, for on this side of heaven, the only thing that was ever perfect was the person Jesus Christ.  This is why the charge of marriage, and the vows taken, must be ever so severe.  “Until death do us part” does not bring to mind a garden, but a battlefield.  Marriage brings struggle.  There will be temptation (Christ was tempted), heartache (Christ was rejected), tears (Christ wept), and pain (Christ was crucified).  But through all of this, we may still be of good cheer, knowing that He who holds marriage together has overcome these things, and has risen to glory, interceding to the Father for us.  He knows our struggles, and is able to grant us rest, both in His work on the cross and His words of life.  Therefore, in all these things, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, not angles nor rules, nor things present not things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

But there is something else, another function of marriage, and we see this function in the very inception of the institution.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone…”

To understand the weight of this statement, one must first understand the intimate love already found in the Godhead, the Trinity, before creation ever came into being.  It is a common misunderstanding to state that God created humanity so that He had someone to love.  Yet common as it is, it is also an extremely damaging statement, for it robs us of the truth of the nature of God, and it does so at the very inception, therefore polluting all that is to follow.  The truth of the matter is that God was already experiencing perfect love in Himself before the world began.  The reason He created was not so He could love, but that He may be glorified, with the utmost expression of this being his saving work of Christ on the cross.  Now, I am not saying that God didn’t intend to act in love with His creation, for to say this would be utterly false.  All I am saying is that it was not God’s impetus in creation.  His impetus was glorification, the means to this impetus was the grace and love shown to us, his children, and expediated through the working of His Son on the cross.

Therefore, we understand the existing love found in the Godhead, and now we find Adam.  The natural question to arise would be, “Would not direct communion with God be enough to suffice that which was lacking in Adam’s state?”  This question presents some misleading assumptions, namely, if the answer is “no” then God is lacking something in His perfection, but if the answer is “yes”, they why create Eve?  To understand this apparent dilemma, we must understand two things.  First, God created man as a social being, and secondly, a being most directly relates to their own kind.

To highlight the first point, Biblical commentator Matthew Henry writes, “Perfect solitude would turn a paradise into a desert, and a palace into a dungeon.”  Therefore, no matter how perfect Adam’s surroundings, the longing of his heart was for companionship.  But again the question is asked, “Was not communion with God enough?”  Here we must understand the second point, and an act of pitied grace from God on Adam.  It is made painfully obvious that Adam could not find a suitable helpmate among the animal kingdom, and this I believe points to the fact that man most directly relates to their own kind.  God communed with Adam, but He was also God, something Adam could never fully relate to.  It is a beautiful picture when God presents Eve to Adam and Adam states, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”  God had given Adam a counterpart, God had given Adam a helpmate, God had given Adam a wife.

However, perhaps there is something deeper happening here, something spiritual, something pointing to Christ.  I think there is.  As Adam yearned for a counterpart, someone after his own kind, we see that God brought Eve to him in marriage, but we also see a deep foreshadowing of another yearning, namely, a communion with God on Adam’s level, a communion with someone of his own kind, communion on a human level.  And so the astounding picture becomes clear- Adam was yearning for Christ!  Christ, who was 100% God and 100% man!  The perfect intercessor for perfect communion!  This beautiful mystery becomes all the more clear as we once again return to the parable that marriage is telling, namely, the relationship of Christ to the church!  As the first marriage was instituted in Adam, so also was the final marriage looked forward to!  And so, in marriage, we are not only charged to love one another as Christ loved the church, but we are also charged to never lose sight of the story that marriage is telling, namely, that we have a Beloved who is pursuing our hearts relentlessly, and who eagerly looks forward to His bride, the church, as we are presented to Him, in glory, at the marriage supper of the Lamb!

And so, the final charge:  LIVE THE PARABLE!

To close, I chose a passage of Scripture from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”