We are gathered here to celebrate the union of Grant Jacob Rost and Liza Suzanne Braatz. Now, as many of you well know, the story of Grant and Liza is a story as old as time. Their’s is a classic love story of boy meets girls and- well, actually that’s not quite true.
Theirs is a story of boy makes Instagram account, girl makes Instagram account, girl follows boy, boy follows girl… and then boy slides into girl’s DMs shortly thereafter. Now, if you’re not a millennial here today, “sliding into DMs” means that Grant sent Liza a direct message on the Instagram app- which means he was totally into her.
Of course I’m only kidding about their relationship being traditional, in many ways theirs is a prototypical millennial love story. They met on insta, and the bulk on their relationship blossomed on facetime. How many times have you guys facetimed? Thousands of times! They’ve snap chatted, Facebook messaged, tagged each other in posts, groupme’d, sent voice memos, venmo’d each other- if it’s a social media app, it’s been used to grow their relationship. Yes, Grant and Liza are very Millennial, they’ve even chosen a fellow millennial to officiate their wedding ceremony- hipstery handlebar mustache and all!
But while their story is very much a product of our times, what they’ve decided to do here today – joining in holy matrimony – is something ancient and sacred, something that harkens all the way back to the Garden of Eden where the first wedding was performed by God between the first man and women, Adam and Eve.
Grant and Liza are Christians and as Christians they’ve asked me to share the Christian view of love and marriage with you today. Now I’m sure we don’t all hold to the Christian view but I want to invite all of us to first ponder on love. What is love? We talk about it all the time; we’re all here to celebrate love, so what is it? Why are we here? Well, we’re not here to celebrate two highly evolved apes playing dress up. We’re not here to celebrate the fact that Liza has triggered Grant’s reproductive instincts. Nor are we here to celebrate that marriage to Grant would prove biologically advantageous to Liza and her offspring. We’re certainly not here to celebrate two bags of protoplasm living in closer proximity to each other until they expire.
We’re here to watch two people who are madly in love with one another unify their souls in a covenant of love and service to one another in front of their closest friends, their family, and most importantly their Creator God. This we call marriage.
As Christians, we believe that the whole message of the Bible, the metanarrative, the big story of Christianity is really a big wedding story. Let me explain: We believe in a God of love, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, who is one God in three persons. This God has always existed in a loving relationship; the Father has always loved the Son, the Son has always loved the Spirit, the Spirit has always loved the Father, the Son has always loved the Father, and on and on and on. Out of this love, God created the heavens and the earth. He then created human beings as rational, volitional, and emotional persons made in His very own image in order to represent His love to the rest of creation, to one another, and back to God Himself.
But the first married couple, Adam and Eve, chose to love themselves rather than love and obey God. They set themselves up in the place of God and although they were created good, when you make a good thing into a God thing it becomes a bad thing. Mankind fell and our relationship with our Creator was broken!
But God, being rich in love and mercy, at the right time and at the right place, sent the Son in the person of Jesus Christ, to redeem people back to Himself, to mend the broken relationship between Creator and creature.
It’s through believing in Jesus and trusting in his perfect life, his death on a cross, and his resurrection from the dead that we can receive forgiveness for our sins, that we as broken image bearers can know God once more. It’s not by trying to be a good enough person, it’s not by saying a special prayer, it’s not by how many times you went to Church or how much money you give to Church, and it’s not by which family you were born into- it’s through faith in Jesus and who he is and what he’s done that we can know God once more. Because of Jesus we can have a loving relationship with the One who made us.
People who believe in and love Jesus and who have this renewed relationship with God make up the Christian Church. Now, another name for the Church is the “Bride of Christ”. These redeemed people of God, comprise the metaphorical bride given from God the Father to God the Son, the Bridegroom. We as Christians look forward to the wedding feast of the lamb described in Revelation chapter 19 when we celebrate our union with Christ Jesus our Lord, our Savior, and our Bridegroom.
So we see that although the Bible starts with a beautiful wedding gone horribly wrong in Genesis 1-3, which ends in our separation from God, the Bible ends with reconciliation between God and man as we look forward to the wedding feast of Christ Jesus the Lamb.
This is the picture that marriage is meant to point to. Today we can see Grant and Liza’s love as a reminder of God’s love for us. Look at Grant, look at how he loves his bride. We’ve seen it in his life, we’ve definitely seen it in his social media, and now we see it in his eyes. How much more does Christ love his bride, the Church?
Look at Liza, look at how she loves Grant, how she admires and adores him- how she longs to be near him. Church, how much more should we long to be with Christ?
Liza and Grant, you guys have done a fantastic job of showing us what love looks like throughout your relationship. You’ve done a great job of representing Christ’s love for his Church here today and I’m so excited to see you continue to do so throughout your marriage. But while you’re called to continue to display Christ’s love to others, you’re also called to represent Christ’s love to one another within your marriage.
Liza, as Grant’s bride, you’re called to represent Christ by submitting to Grant’s headship, his leadership in your family, just as Christ submitted to the Father. Grant, as Liza’s husband you’re called to lay down your life for Liza and put her needs before yours just as Christ did for his bride, the Church.
If you guys continue to love Jesus more than you love each other then you’re going to have an awesome marriage! Liza, Grant is a pretty strong dude right? I mean the dude is jacked. But he’s not strong enough to be your God. Grant, Liza is a beautiful, strong women of God, but if you make her your God you’ll crush her.
But, if you continue to let God be your God, if you’ll keep your relationship centered on Jesus and quickly turn back to him when you fall down, you’ll be free to love one another as God intends, as husband and wife.