Father, in your Word, it is written, “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Father, you are the one true God, already there in the beginning because you are eternal, with perfect, self-sufficient life in yourself. We praise you as our Creator, the Creator of everyone and everything, and thus the Owner and Sovereign Ruler of all. You, O Lord, are the only perfectly wise one, able to look at your good, your very good, creation, and make it better, knowing that it is not good for man to be alone, and so giving woman to man. You are generous and kind, to give lowly man such a glorious gift as marriage, and giving it to us not begrudgingly, but with delight, as you delight in all you do. And Father, you are fearsome and just, no ethereal pushover, who cares not if his righteous commands are transgressed. You are not stained with apathy, the fluffy wickedness of allowing the guilty to go unpunished, as you are foolishly charged with by so many today. You are fearsome and just, as we are reminded by your warning to not seek to undo that which you have done. It is for all these attributes and more, for who you are in the perfection of your being, that we give you that which you are owed, our adoration.
And it is in light of who you are that we must come to you in confession, the sinners humbly before the holy. Yahweh, we have disdained you and your gift of marriage, separating our enjoyment of your gifts from our enjoyment of you, pretending that marriage is supremely about us and our fulfillment, as we are idolatrously so prone to do with all of life, and not about the celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ. How many of us have come together today thinking primarily of Harry and Ginny, or even of ourselves, and not of you in all your glory? How many of us have treated the holy union of marriage with scorn with our sexual immorality? How few of us have been anguished by the pretend marriages so often celebrated by the neighbors you have commanded us to love? We have treated marriage as if we were able to have it however, and with whomever, we please. We have failed to humbly come to you in pleading, knowing that only you can supply what we need in order to honor marriage as we ought. We deserve nothing but your wrath, for we are sinners before you. We are sinners, and so deserve death and damnation.
To you, Father, we give thanks that there is salvation from your wrath for all who repent and believe in your Son, Jesus Christ. And we recognize that it is this which marriage celebrates, the great love of Jesus for his bride, the church. His bride was under the reign of that ancient dragon, the devil, bound by the deadly curse of sin. Yet Christ has rescued his bride, by taking the curse of sin upon himself. We are grateful that he died in the place of all your chosen people, paying the penalty for sin, and rising from the grave on the third day. We thank you that, having redeemed his bride by his blood, he shall hold her fast all the way to the splendid wedding feast soon to be served, and eternally beyond.
Father, it is clear that the only reasonable response to this good news of Jesus Christ is repentance and faith, a rejection of a life spent in opposition to you and a trusting in Jesus as Ruler and Rescuer. So I ask that you would bless Harry and Ginny with a marriage full of repentance and faith. Cause them to live together as one in opposition to sin and in allegiance to Jesus. Cause Harry to be a man wholly submitted to Christ, a righteous lord under the Lord of lords, who carries the weighty responsibility of covenant headship in such a way that leads to Ginny’s flourishing in that which is good, true, and beautiful. Cause Ginny to ever be a woman adorned richly in godliness, to be a woman with a heavenly, lovely, gentle disposition, who joyfully submits to her husband and lives blessedly as his helpmate. Sovereignly rule them by your Word, dear Father. Make your face shine upon them in grace. Bless them and your people through them. Bring them into heavenly splendor, gathered as one with all the members of the bride before the victorious bridegroom, Jesus, when all his enemies have been slain, and joy forevermore is unfolded radiantly before us.