The Marriage of Lucas Patten & Natalie Deutsch
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
October 19, 2013
Central Passage
Ephesians 5:22-33

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

Marriage refers to Christ and His Church. Christ and His Church is the reality; marriage is the picture. Christ and His Church is the substance; marriage is the image.

As Christ gave Himself for His beloved, laying down His life for her life, so husbands are to give themselves up for their wives, laying down his life for her. But this isn’t about dying, not even about dying a heroic death to save one’s wife. No, this is about living. For Christ gave Himself up for the Church so that He might present her to Himself, a spotless bride. He did not lay down His life except that He could take it up again. So you, Luke, ought not be looking for ways to lay down your life for Natalie, but rather you are to look for ways how you live for her.

But living for her has content. It’s not generic because she is not generic. She is not just “woman,” she is Natalie. So it is not in general that you are to live for her, but in specifics. You do this as Christ does it for His Church, by blessing her with your attention, your love, and your mercy.

Yes, mercy. She will need mercy. As you will, too. Love and mercy are two sides of the same coin. For love keeps no record of wrongs. And mercy grants freedom when the other would be indebted to us. Loving her is about receiving her. Being merciful is about considering her pure and blameless. As Christ does His Church.

You will love Natalie as Christ loves His Church when you live to bless her; to give to her your life. Not so that you die, but that so you live together. For that is why Christ gives His life to His Church: that she may live with Him both now and forever.

You are Christ-like when you give your life to your bride.

And, Natalie, as the Church submits to her Head, which is Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands. Now don’t be afraid of that word “submit”. It’s not an evil word. It’s not a word about being walked on or taken advantage of. To the contrary, to submit means to receive from your husband his life. That is how the Church submits to Christ.

Christ is not a taskmaster. He is not a moral judge demanding strict adherence to some set of moral codes so that the Church must submit as a slave to a master. Rather, Christ is our rest. In Him we don’t need to try to please the Father, but because Christ is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well-pleased, then we who are baptized in the Christ are also well-pleasing to the Father. That’s mercy and grace. The Father receives and loves you because you are in the Son who is received and loved by the Father.

And the Son gives you His life. He gives you not only life here and now, which is indeed a blessing – as you well know – but He gives you life eternal so that even though you die, yet shall you live. Jesus’ purpose was not to make good people. His purpose was and is to make a people for the Father by giving them His life.

The Church submits to Him by receiving His life. That is why she gathers to Him around pulpit, font, and altar. It’s not about being good little Christians, it’s about receiving from the bride-groom the gift He gives, which is life.

In the same way, Natalie, you submit to Luke not by being walked on and never having an opinion, but by receiving him and what he gives as your husband.

There it is. There is your marriage. The husband dying and living to give his wife gifts and blessings, and the wife receiving what the husband gives. For that is the way of the Christ and His bride, the Church.

Your Christ lives for you; to bless you with life and immortality; to raise you up on the last day that you would live with Him in His kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. And you, like Sarah, submit to your Bride-Groom, who is Christ, by gathering with Him at His Divine Service where He gives you His live in bread and wine, water and word; where He does what a husband does and loves His bride by blessing her and giving to her His life.

+ In Nomine Iesu +