When I heard of Gary’s death this morning, I wanted to be up in the Three Lakes area. Perhaps, I am not the only one who finds distant words inadequate, no matter how heartfelt. I began to think about the vows we take on our wedding day.
We spent many years alone and then we found someone with whom we would like to spend a lifetime, and someone pronounces us husband and wife. But we really have little idea of what that will mean.
The officiant asks, “Will you have this woman/man, to be your wife/husband, to live with that person in marriage according to the Word of God?” But what does that really mean? Could we define it if someone asked us as we stood in our wedding dress and tuxedo? Does it mean we live under the headship of Christ? But every couple will need to work out for themselves their relationship under Christ’s headship.
The vows continue, “Will you love, comfort, honor and keep in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live?” Loving, comforting, honoring, each other is challenging enough. But who is ready for sickness? Who anticipates sitting in the surgery waiting room? Who anticipates “for worse?” “poorer” and to love and cherish through it all.
And then “until death parts us.” We aren’t ready to resume being alone again. What then when death does part us? When one of the rings we exchanged as a reminder of our love and faithfulness is buried beneath the earth in the hope of the resurrection.
Yet one of us must go on. But how? Yet, one thing has not changed. On the day we stood before the officiant that person began our togetherness, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We were sent on our way with the blessing that, “The eternal God, the Father or our Lord Jesus Christ, grant you His Holy, be with you, and richly bless you now and forever.” So, we go on our way from the cemetery still surrounded by the eternal God, the holy three in one.