Ecclesiastes 9:9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. NRSV
Absence makes the heart grow fonder… that simple phrase does not do justice to what my wonderful wife and I experience. When Erin began Seminary at Gettysburg, we were told by an old and very wise pastor, “The Devil will do everything he can to stop you in the first year.” So… after multiple surgeries, months of lost work, medical bills, driving countless hours, excruciating pain, studying late into the night, helplessness, separation, doubt, faith, love, and the single most inescapable truth that is unspoken; your husband may die on the operating table… I am willing to bet the love and bond between us has become much stronger.
Baptism prepares all… to be continually replenished. This is true just as water must be given to sustain life to all of God’s creation…so to must water be continually replenished daily in the lives of Christians. The waters of baptism continuously flow on like a river running through our souls. The total gift of baptism carries on throughout all of a Christian’s life and is valid till we all enter into eternity. Those waters also are important in the covenant of marriage.
Constantly am reminded that I am so lucky she married me. She is allowed to get angry, to cry, to be scared, to love, to have doubt, and also to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Through the covenant of marriage by God, two young people begin their journeys through life at birth during baptism. Marriage is a continuation of those promises as two people join together with the priesthood of all believers in response to water and word.
Many of our friends joke that I married a wonderful woman and then became a bachelor again; that I have the best of both worlds. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know I am one very lucky man with her at my side. We have wonderful energy together, where I am weak, she is strong; where she is weak, I am strong. People who are part of our lives can feel the love, kindness, fun, and energy that we share; they are blessed by it. So when we get a chance to write a letter, send an email, make a quick call, Skype late at night, or drive five hours just to see each other… those precious seconds count. I will always walk arm in arm with my wife, get the door for her (when she lets me), and show her the love and trust that she deserves; absence is something we both know all too well. We tell everyone we are going to be married for 85 years; three down and eighty-two to go… and we mean it…
Dear Lord, let us remember the great celebrations in life where we remember and join into covenants with you. The celebration of life though baptism, the celebration of the meal at your family table, and the great promises of unity with each other in your loving embrace during marriage. Amen.