28 July 2012

Lingel - Elsea Wedding Homily

[Readings: Genesis 2:7, 18-24;  1 John 4:7-19]
He gave names. That was how the man exercised the dominion that the Lord God had given him. He could look at a the hopping thing and say: You sir, are a kangaroo. It’s how he rejoiced in the kangaroo as the unique gift it was from God. But among all the wondrous kangaroos and cockatoos, dogs and hogs, rats and cats and bats - among them all, wondrous gifts that they are - there was nothing the man could call Ishah - nothing that came from Ish. No true companion of his heart and soul, no fellow being like unto him and yet different from him, who could rejoice with him in all the good gifts of the Lord.

And because there wasn’t one and the man was helpless to do anything about it, God did the whole thing. Put the man to sleep and performed a miracle. From him, from his very being, brought forth a being and “brought her to the man.” God does the action. He creates the companion for the man and he gives her to him. And what does man do? He names!

At last! Bone of bones! At last! Flesh of my flesh! At last I’ve been waiting for you my whole life. At last! You know what I’ll call her, God? I’ll call her Ishah, because she came out of Ish. Woman for she came out of man. Or as the geneticists would say XX because she got her XX’s from the XY. Woman.

Moses adds - and that’s why a man leaves his father and mother and holds fast to his wife and they become one flesh.

But hasn’t it ever struck two that that’s NOT the way it actually works in hardly any culture across the face of the world? Rather than the man leaving, it’s usually the woman that leaves. If you’re like most folks, Amilia will be taking Chris’s last name and joining his family and not vice-versa. So why would Moses say that?

Could it be that he was pointing ahead to that mystery behind what is happening with you two today? For there was one who came from His Father and then on His cross left His mother in order to fall asleep and for His side to be opened and from it a new creature to arise to be His spouse, His beloved Bride.

And in Him, St. John makes clear, and only in Him do we finally see what love is. Love isn’t the stuff we work up towards God. Love is this: the Father sends His Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Not that we love God, but that He loves us so much as to give His Son to be the wiping out of our sins. He comes among us as the New Adam looking for His Eve, His Church, His Ishah. Taken out of Ish. And so we see the love that God has for us and the call to live in that love.

And we desperately needed the New Adam and his new bride, since the first Ish and the first Ishah totally got it all gummed up. Instead of living in the joy of God’s giving, they decided to do some taking to themselves, as you will recall, and from that taking to self they plunged themselves and you and me and all the people in their pretty clothes into the judgment of God. As helpless as Adam was to make himself his Eve; so helpless were we all to be able to step back into the life that God made us for and which Adam and Eve tossed out the window. But what we couldn’t do, God did. As little cooperation needed from us as from Adam. Just lie there and let God do His giving and suddenly there is new life to rejoice in.

And so we come to the miracle of marriage which unfolds before our eyes today. Here too, it’s not about striving. But about receiving. God has a gift for you, Christopher, that you did nothing to earn, create, achieve. And He’s giving you that gift just like He gave you the gift of His Son - just because. Because He loves you and wants you to have a companion with whom to walk through the journey of this world toward His kingdom. Name her your Ishah. Name her your own. And never forget that she’s a treasure from the King of Kings to you and He will demand an accounting for how you honor and serve her.

And you, Amilia, just as little as Eve had anything to do with being brought to life, so you’ve been given not only the joy of eternal life in Your Jesus, but now Jesus increases your joy with the gift of a husband. Sheet gift for you to receive and treasure and love and honor and serve all the days He will give you. He is your Ish, your man. Hold to him as the Church holds to Jesus and receives from Him love beyond all her imagining.

Names given mean gifts rejoiced in. Today you two will name each other my husband, my wife. And it’s a way of confessing that God in His love for you has give you each other and bound two together as one. And because you both still carry within you the old Adam and old Eve, who are always think their way is better and makes more sense than God’s, no matter how many times the evidence shows the contrary - stupid is as stupid does - you will find that you must live your lives within the communion of the New Adam and His New Eve, His Church.

Here there is forgiveness bigger than all the sin you can do to each other, here there is a hope and a future that shines with a light no death can dim. You’ve been loved with a perfect love and that perfect love of His for you is what will cast out all the fears the years may bring. And you will find that your love for each other will only grow as you live in Him, for you will grow in love because together bask in the love with which He first loved you. He has named you His own. He has delighted in receiving you as gift from His Father whom it is His unending joy to serve and to honor. In that love of His you will live forever, and when the time comes to an end to your earthly pilgrimage and you cease to walk together as husband and wife, you will have the joy of going on living as brother and sister of the New Adam to whom be glory with His Father and the Holy Spirit now and ever and to the ages of ages! Amen.

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