Friday, January 06, 2012

A New Unity

Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman -- no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity.  Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.  Mark 10:7-9 (MSG)

Twenty-one years ago today, I was standing at an altar in the idyllic town of Ross, nestled in the redwoods of Marin.  The organist literally pulled out all the stops, playing the triumphant hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns, and filling the beautiful St. John's Episcopal Church with music, energy and expectation. Doors in the back of the church opened and I was enraptured by the sight of Anne, wafting down the long aisle, coming to me, to be my bride!  I will never forget that moment!  I lost it.  The tears started at that moment and kept flowing through almost the whole ceremony!

On that day, Anne and I abandoned ourselves to each other, threw caution to the wind, forsook independence, isolation, and all others.  We made vows to each other of our undying love.  Looking back from the perspective of 21 years, I must call that experience what it was -- perfect madness!  What did we know back then about the colossal vows we were promising to each other and before God?

Little did I know that day the journey God would take us on together.  Little did I know the battle that the forces of darkness would rage to lure us towards isolation and away from the design of oneness that God has clearly laid out in His blueprint for marriage contained in His Word.  Little did I know the power of God, the grace of God and the value of community that has served us so well as allies developing in us a growing marriage that has prevailed for 21 years (and counting!).  Little did I know that the fruit of our relationship would produce four beautiful princesses, who are the absolute biggest joys, blessings and challenges of our lives.

Ours is not a perfect marriage, and we have faced incredible challenges throughout, especially this past year, but I honor God today, and my wife for the grace and commitment to vows expressed 21 years ago.  God is faithful!

In their book, Love and War, John and Staci Eldridge give an incredible perspective on marriage:
"The heart of God's most magnificent creation, and the prize over which he fights the kingdom of darkness.  Now consider this -- marriage is the sanctuary of the heart.  You have been entrusted with the heart of another human being.  Whatever else your life's great mission will entail, loving and defending this heart next to you is part of your great quest."

What a quest!  Tonight as we celebrate our anniversary, Anne and I will again access a resource that we have used almost every year: annual questions that couples should ask each other.  You can access those questions here.

By the way, does your marriage need encouragement? Why not access our marriage-coaching ministry?  We have a team of trained couples ready and willing to come alongside you and strengthen your marriage.  Learn more about that by clicking here.

I look forward to being together this Sunday.  Brian Rhen will join me on the platform as we take a week in preparation; looking back to what God taught us last fall and looking forward to a new series starting on January 15.  2012 is going to be a great year for the PCC community!