December 8, 1984
The wedding sermon was intended for us, because it was our wedding. Ivan J. Miller, the minister, had known me all my life. He met my fiancé several times- but the time we met with him to discuss our wedding and his part in it, he was impressed with the man I chose to be my husband.
I knew that because of the comment he made. In the living room of their home that day, Uncle Ivan’s eyes twinkled when he looked at Aunt Della and said, “Well, I thought this man was the lucky one to get Gertrude, but now I think she is the lucky one to get him.”
I walked down the aisle that wintry day to meet my bridegroom. In my hands, I carried the Bible Dave’s mother carried when she was married. [You can see the edge of the Bible in the photo above.]
We were about to embark on something neither of us had experienced, yet our faith was strong, and our love was secure. We were happy, excited, and ready!
Dave and I never forgot what my uncle shared that sunny Saturday in December in western Maryland. Outside, our dream of a snowy wedding had come true. Crisp winter air hovered around while the sun shone through the windows of the church nestled surrounded by maple trees at the bottom of the hill.
Uncle Ivan took his place behind the podium on the small platform, opened his Bible, straightened his glasses and looked out over the audience.
“One would think,” he began, “from the numerous books and various articles there are about marriage, that marriage is a proposition too risky to try.”
The wedding sermon and Grace
Then he mentioned Grace, the subject of his message. I can’t think of a better subject for a wedding sermon, can you?
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is courteous goodwill. Grace as a verb causes one to honor, to enhance, and to elevate the other.
“There are three things,” he said, “that Grace does for each of us, and it will do for you.” His eyes peered across the pulpit toward us. “God gives us Grace. There are three things that Grace will do for you in your marriage.”
Grace to will
“God gives us Grace to will!” There are choices we make each day. We have Grace to make the right choices. This involves how we act, speak, and think. In marriage, we need this grace, and God gives it freely.
Grace to do
“God gives us Grace to do!” We choose what we will do – or what we will not do. What we do affects not only our own attitude, but the atmosphere of our marriage and our home. We choose what we do, and that affects us years down the road.
Grace to be
“God gives us grace to be!” As individuals and as married partners, we also have Grace to be. When we don’t feel like being a support or a helpmeet, when we don’t want to give up our preferences, when we are tired of being the first to apologize, God gives us grace to be the right person. Taking that first step toward being the right person moves us right into becoming – by Grace – who we are to be.
Thirty-seven years and counting
Dave and I still reference that wedding sermon. Uncle Ivan is no longer here, but his words resound in our marriage and in our hearts. He gave us a formula that works.
In our upheavals and discords, in our discussions and frustrations, we have failed at times to exhibit Grace. You know what keeps us? Reaching for Grace – and grasping hold of a Grace that enables us to will, to do, and to be.
Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!