” . . . and he brought her to the Man.”
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of officiating at the marriage of Aaron Nelson and Ashley Gates. Here is my sermon, a meditation on the Mystery of Marriage and the Truth about Twitterpation!
Aaron, Ashley, I’m pretty sure you’ve both seen the Disney classic, Bambi. But just in case, let me introduce my remarks today by describing a memorable and beloved scene from that movie.
Bambi the deer, Thumper the rabbit, and Flower the skunk are assembled before Friend Owl. Suddenly, out of nowhere, two bluebirds appear, fluttering madly about in the air.
“What’s the matter with them?” asks Flower.
“Yeah, why are they acting that way?” asks Thumper.
“You don’t know?” says Friend Owl. “Why, they’re twitterpated!”
“Twitterpated!” cry the three befuddled friends.
“Yes, twitterpated. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime. You’re walking along, minding your own business. You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack dab into a pretty face. Wooo-hooh! You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather, and before you know it, you’re walking on air. And then you know what? You’re knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head!
“Gosh,” says Thumper, “that sounds awful!”
“Appalling!” says Flower.
“Terrible!” says Bambi.
But friend owl isn’t done.
“And that ain’t all. It could happen to anyone. It could even happen to you.”
“Oh no, it’s not gonna happen to me!” says Thumper.
“Me neither!” said Flower.
“Me neither,” said Bambi.
Famous last words!
The Mystery of Marriage
Aaron and Ashley, I want to congratulate you: You got twitterpated!
I also want to congratulate you because you wanted to get twitterpated; that you were not afraid of it, as so many people are today, but saw it for what it really is: a precious gift from God, and an invitation to a great adventure with him.
As a Christian couple, you know that the apostle Paul had quite a bit to say about Twitterpation in his letter to the Ephesians. On your wedding day, it’s fitting that we recall some of his wisdom. However, I’d like to do so by returning to the OT passage that served as inspiration for his profound insights on the mystery of marriage, Genesis 2.
Verse 18 of that chapter reads, “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper corresponding to him.”
This is an amazing statement. Since Adam was a type of Christ, we learn here that God did not think it good for His Son to be alone, and that he therefore decided to make him a Helper—a Bride—who would love him, serve him, and bear fruit with him to all eternity.
Aaron, this passage speaks to you. Because you too are a picture of Christ, it is not good for you to be alone. Unless you have received the gift of celibacy (and from where I’m standing it certainly appears you have not), you need a companion and a helper to make your way through the world. Today, in Ashley, God gives you such a friend, and therefore equips you, as he did his Son, for good success.
Ashley, is it a great privilege for Christ’s Bride, the Church, to be his companion and helper? If so, then it must also be a privilege for you to be called to Aaron’s side as his companion and helper. Many today would assert that such a vocation is demeaning. But God disagrees. He says that dedicating yourself to help Aaron is actually an honor. For in doing so, you will picture to a watching world the love of Christ’s Church for her Lord. And in helping Aaron fulfill his life calling, you will find, to your amazement and joy, that you have actually fulfilled your own.
Verses 19 and 20 go on to say that Adam gave names to all the beasts, the birds, and the cattle, but that he could not find a helper who corresponded to him.
The key word is: corresponding. The mystical meaning is this: In the entire universe, there is but one creation that perfectly corresponds to Christ: His Bride, the Church. This means that God has designed them to complement one another, to fit together perfectly. Christ is the Head, the Church is the Body. Christ is the initiator, the Church is the responder. Christ is the provider and protector; the Church is the provided for and the protected.
The lesson here is that Christian couples should understand and relish their complementary roles.
Aaron, under Christ you must receive strength to lead, provide, and protect—both spiritually and physically—for your family.
Ashley, under Christ you must receive strength to follow your husband in all things lawful, and—just like the Church with Christ—be his companion, lover, helper, and—God willing—the mother of his children.
The modern world has largely forgotten the lofty mystery of our God-appointed roles as husband and wife, and so often lives in frustration. But to you it has been given to know the blessings of corresponding one to another.
Verses 21 and 22 take us back to the very first marriage ceremony!
The text reads, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.”
Two thousand years ago, God the Father caused a deep sleep to fall upon his only-begotten Son, the sleep of death. And because of the merits of that death, God has ever since been able to bring to Him a beautiful, living Bride.
Ashley, when you walked down the aisle this morning, you showed forth, in a tiny microcosm, the great procession of Twitterpated sinners, being drawn by God from every tribe, tongue, family, and nation to the heavenly Husband who laid down his life for them.
Aaron, please note that this could never happen if Christ had not offered himself as a sacrifice for his Bride. So it is with you. Your marriage union will not be possible without sacrifice, whether of time, energy, wealth, and perhaps even life itself.
If, however, you will make the necessary sacrifices for the spiritual and physical needs of your family, then the Bible encourages you to watch for the glory of God itself resting upon your Bride and your home. It would do the world a world of good to see it.
I want to conclude with v. 25, the PG-13 portion of this sermon.
The text reads, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.”
According to this passage, naked was normal. In the holy environment of Paradise there was no need for clothing, still less for housing. Like an unborn baby in its mother’s womb, Adam and Eve lived completely uncovered in the perfect womb of God’s pristine world.
But there is a deeper meaning here. Because they had no sin in their hearts, they were spiritually naked, whether in the sight of God, or the sight of their mate. They had nothing to hide, nothing to cover up in shame. With fearless honesty they could simply be themselves in a free, open relationship with God and each other.
What a blessing that must have been—and what a loss when sin entered the world to destroy it! For now their corrupted hearts—and the hearts of all their descendants—were no longer clean, clear, and transparent, but filled with guile, dishonesty, guilt, fear, and shame. Only God knows how many marriages have suffered shipwreck upon such fearsome rocks as these.
But Aaron and Ashley, God has given you Christ. And because you have received him, you have received his righteousness. Though sin still works in your members—and though you must do battle with it daily—God reckons you to be as righteous as His own Son!
Do you see what a gift this is to your marriage? Just like people in the world, Christian couples sin against one another. But unlike people in the world, they know what to do with that sin. Knowing they are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, they also know they can stand naked before God and each other. Openly, honestly, fearlessly, they can continually seek forgiveness, bestow forgiveness, and—by the grace of God—continually be healed. They can rise again, and walk confidently into the future with Him.
Aaron and Ashley, these are some of the great mysteries of marriage: Companionship, Correspondence, Sacrifice, and Spiritual Transparency. They are granted to you in Christ. If, from this day forth, you will fully embrace both Him and them, then like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—or like Bambi, Thumper and Flower when they got Twitterpated—you will enjoy a taste of Paradise itself.
(To read the sermon I gave to Aaron’s brother Daniel, and his bride, Alyssa, please click here)