Every marriage is about a name. Whether you choose to hyphenate it, or keep your old one, or take up his or hers. When no suitable helpmate was found for Adam, God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep and when he was asleep took a rib from his side, having closed up the place with flesh – God took the rib and made it into a woman and gave her to the man. At LAST, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh… she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man. (That’s what all you guys said at your wedding, right?)
And yet it is the sin of Adam that everyone has inherited…coursing through the whole human race. The problem is we aren’t comfortable with the word LOVE… and therefore can’t begin to be comfortable with obey or submit. You have to be accountable to someone else and that isn’t the way we want it. We have to be connected to someone else??! Our god is our belly and our life is narrated by our passions. And the problem with that is that our passions, our bellies, always leave us alone and worse yet, dead in our sin.
What’s love to the world? What’s love to you? Forget about submitting and obeying and listening… What is love? Tina Turner thought it was a second hand emotion. The world talks about falling into and out of love, but it misses the whole point. Don’t confuse love with the wicked passions of your belly. Don’t be tempted by the world to think that love is a passing feeling that resides in some warm fuzzy you feel in your heart. No! We have other names for those feelings. Those feelings are real – ALBEIT fleeting, but real and they are not LOVE. Love has to do with neighbor and with God. Love has to do with looking away from your navel and looking up at the world around you – and the persons around you.
And yet… and yet… we will not do it. There is need all around us and even us who work at the church headquarters are belly watchers. And with all this belly watching going on, how will we learn to LOVE? How can we love the Lord our God with all our heart when it is lent out as a second hand emotion or even a first hand one? How can we learn to submit or even take the time to figure out what that is if we can’t stop thinking about our own passions and lusts?
God loves a wedding feast! “Go bright jewel of my crown! It is time to have compassion, he says. Bring to all salvation, from sin and sorrow set them free!! Slay bitter death for them that they may live with you forever!” OH, this is a mystery, Paul says… This is a profound mystery about Christ and his church. Want to know what LOVE is? Look to Jesus Christ alone. For the Son of God became incarnate and was born of the Virgin Mary to shed his blood for your forgiveness and peace. Therefore the MAN, Jesus Christ, left his Father in heaven and came for you and me. Dying upon the CROSS of Calvary he holds fast to the church, his bride, for there they have become one flesh.
What is LOVE? To die for your beloved. To lay down your passions and your heart and all the fuzzy feelings to give the other your everything. What’s love look like? The Cross alone. That Cross of Jesus is our life… for it is there that Christ loves us. “At last, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh… she shall be called CHURCH and they shall be called Christians for they were taken out Christ.
In Jesus+ Name. Amen.
Rev. Steven Cholak
LCMS International Center (January 23, AD 2014)