Trivium Pursuit

Aaron Auberg and Helena Bluedorn Wedding March 26, 2011

Officiated by Michael Rudolph, Calvary Church, Muscatine, Iowa

PROCESSIONAL:

Psalm 45:10-17 sung by Leah Seydel

WELCOME:

Friends, Welcome, and thank you for coming today to share in this important celebration in the lives of Aaron and Helena.

We are gathered here today
to honor these two young lives,
to celebrate with them in this time of joy,
and to serve as witnesses as they make this solemn vow before their God.

We should always remember that marriage is, in fact, a solemn vow, a covenant before God,
intended to signify for us the mystery of the union between Christ and His Church
–a vow not to be entered into lightly, but with reverence.

Today, Aaron and Helena came here separately, as individuals.
They will leave here together in God’s eyes as one.
Join with me as we ask God’s blessing upon this day.

OPENING PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, it is the desire of our hearts first to acknowledge Your Lordship in everything we do.
We want our steps to be directed and empowered by Your hand.
Look on us with grace and mercy. Bless Aaron and Helena as they are today united in marriage.
May their walk before You not be trivial nor heedless, but in reverence,
in the sacred vows which they are about to make.
Let us be always assured of Your presence;
and may Your light shine upon us in the celebration of this rite.
We ask in this, that our Lord Jesus Christ might be glorified. AMEN.

GIVING OF THE BRIDE:

Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

[Harvey Bluedorn, father of the bride:]
“I, her father,
with the counsel of her mother,
and with Helena’s full and free agreement,
do freely give her to this man, Aaron Auberg.”

[You may be seated.]

PRESENTATION OF THE SWORD:

Ephesians 6:11—17
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world
and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore, put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground
and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword,
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow,
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

[Mark Auberg, father of the groom:]
“Aaron, you are now armed with the word of God, the sword of the Spirit.
Study and show yourself approved.
Use it to defend your family.
Use it to fight against the enemy's plans.
Use it to guide your children to do the same.”

MESSAGE:

I’m honored to be asked to share this important role today in the lives of Aaron and Helena. I’ve known Aaron well for a long time. He grew up with my sons. He’s raided my refrigerator and cupboard – many times. He’s mowed my grass, baled my hay and, in the process, he’s endured countless hours of my counsel. I suspect that he feels as much a part of my family as I do of his.

I’ve met Helena a few times through the years, but I haven’t had the chance to get to know her nearly as well. Since I live in North Carolina now and wasn’t able to give them their pre-marital counsel personally, I asked them to send me their testimonies of their relationship with Jesus Christ and their story of how God has brought them together. It’s a beautiful story. I’m grateful for what they have shared and to hear what God is doing in their lives.

As Aaron and Helena know, faith in Christ is an essential element for a successful marriage. I’m afraid we live in a society that has long ago forgotten its Christian roots. We attempt marriage without acknowledging and honoring its Creator. We often start with little more than physical attraction, but that eventually fades and we’re left with a convenient, but lifeless relationship, or worse, a painful divorce.

These things shouldn’t surprise us, for the Bible tells us that when we choose to reject God and live instead a life of rebellion, we end up lost without a moral compass, wandering desperately through life without direction or purpose, living without hope in a world full of entertainment, but devoid of meaning. We rush from one deceptive promise to another until we lie buried beneath a mountain of guilt and pain. Rightfully, we deserve God’s judgment and punishment.

But Praise be to God, this is not the end of God’s story, nor is it the end of Aaron and Helena’s story. For God offers us hope through His Son Jesus Christ. He bore the punishment for our sins. He paid the debt for our rebellion. He offers us eternal life if we but turn to Him. The Bible tells us:

“God made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

And,

“To all who receive Him, to all who believe on His name, God gives the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

All we need to do is to confess and to believe. Helena shared several verses in her testimony that had been vital to her in coming to understand God’s gracious plan of salvation. I’ll mention two from the writings of the apostle John,

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” (1 John 5:1)

And

“Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and [God] will raise him up in the last day.” (John 6:40)

Both Aaron and Helena have sought God with all of their hearts, even as He has drawn them unto Himself. They have confessed their sin, they have turned from a life of rebellion, and they have found hope and mercy in Him. Even as we come today to share this joyful moment with them, their desire is that they might share a joyful moment with you. That you, like them, would choose to accept God’s offer of salvation. You could give no greater gift to them than to share with them faith in Jesus Christ. I invite you and encourage you to do just that and to share your story with Aaron and Helena in the coming days.

Aaron and Helena have also shared with me the story of how God brought them together. It’s important always to remember that story. I would counsel both of you, as the years pass by, to think often of what God has done and how He was the One Who brought the two of you together. A marriage established upon the foundation of God’s handiwork will stand firm no matter what storm it finds itself facing. If you are attentive, you will see God continue to write a beautiful story in your lives.

In sharing their story, Aaron wrote, “I was just minding my business going to the bowling alley with some friends.” If I might be so bold as to add an editorial comment, “Aaron was just minding his business going to the bowling alley with some friends when God whopped him up along side the head!” Often times men need that! Aaron continues, “I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful girl playing with the Bluedorn family a few lanes down.” He goes on to describe the following weeks and months: his nervousness, his taking the risk of exposing his heart to her, his diligence and commitment to win the favor of her father. As a father of daughters, I would like to publicly applaud Harvey for modeling for all of us what it means to be a godly father, the protector of his daughters, not just as the father who sits on the front porch with his shot gun, but as the father who demands maturity and godliness in the young man to whom he would give something as precious as his daughter.

Helena, I was very impressed with the story you shared. What you related was familiar. It’s the same story many young women share — up to a point. There was a subtle difference. You spoke of your hopes and dreams, of the emotions that come with a potential relationship, but rather than giving your heart away too quickly or cheaply, you did what a godly young woman should do. You looked to and submitted yourself first to your father. You trusted his wisdom. You waited even as your heart was about to explode until Aaron had proven to your father his commitment, his godly character, and his readiness for marriage. Then, and only then, did you allow yourself to start falling in love. Not only did you allow your father to protect you, but you protected your heart as well. I applaud you too, for you have demonstrated to other young women what God desires of a woman as she considers marriage.

God has given us marriage to bring joy to our hearts, to be a vehicle by which we both learn and express love, to serve as the foundation of the home and to strengthen society. But marriage is more importantly intended to be a reflection of the glory of God and of the relationship He seeks to have with His people. We read about God’s design for marriage in Ephesians 5.

Although this passage speaks first to the wife, Aaron, I have chosen to address your role first. For if you do your job well, Helena’s job will become much easier. In this passage, Aaron, you are instructed to love your wife as Christ loved the Church (5:25). How did He love the Church? He gave Himself sacrificially for her. But what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that the man is merely designed to satisfy every passing whim of his wife any more than Christ is worried about satisfying every passing whim of the Church. Christ is the Head of the Church (5:23). He sets the direction. He defines the character of the relationship. He is responsible for its outcome. Aaron, as the husband, Christ expects the same of you.

But while it is true that you are to lead and provide for your wife, in reality marriage means much more than that. You are to cherish your wife (5:29), not only as someone precious to you now, but also as Christ views her in what she is to become. Christ loves the Church sacrificially so that He might create something beautiful in her, so that the Church might glow with His radiance, so that the Church might be holy and blameless (5:27).

Aaron, you have worked hard to win Helena’s hand and heart in marriage. I applaud that. For a man will never cherish what he doesn’t work hard to gain. But sadly, what a man works hard to gain, he sometimes later neglects. Aaron, you yourself have said you couldn’t help but notice Helena. May that always be true of your relationship. May you always be sensitive to her heart and treat her with tenderness. May you from this day forward see her as Harvey has seen her and as God sees her — as someone very precious in your sight.

Helena stands before you today as your beautiful bride, but if you do what God expects of you, she should stand before you 50 years from now even more beautiful than today because she glows with the radiance of Christ. Aaron, before God, you are given the responsibility to lead Helena, your wife, and later your children, to lead them in knowing God, to be changed into His likeness, and to reflect His glory. It will be for you first to set the example in your own life as you pursue God, and then, lovingly and tenderly, to lead the way for Helena and your children.

Helena, you are instructed to do two things. The first is to submit to your husband (5:22). In contrast to many in society, you have already demonstrated your understanding and willingness to obey this command. Submission is a beautiful thing. What Christ asks you to do, He Himself has done for you, when He submitted to the Father’s plan and died on the cross for our sins. Submission is an incredible mystery, a paradox to the modern mind. In Mt 16:25, He explains the path of submission,

“Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

Helena, in a few moments you will lose the identity you’ve had up until this point in your life, but as you submit to Aaron out of obedience to Christ, you will find your life, the life that God has prepared for you.

Helena, there is a second thing that God asks of you as well. You are to respect your husband (5:33). Why does God tell you to respect your husband instead of to love him? Love should certainly characterize your relationship with Aaron, but the wife’s respect of her husband is even more important. Submission without respect leads eventually to resentment, anger, and bitterness. Submission with respect changes everything.

Notice that God didn’t say, ”Husbands be respectable, although of course they should.” He said, “Wives respect your husbands.” Helena, as you do this, it will change both you and him. As you respect him, you will find submission becomes easier, but also as you respect him, you will find that Aaron will grow in worthiness of that respect. And this is the important point. A man can do almost anything if his wife believes in him. Without that he’ll struggle to go anywhere.

Aaron, Helena, your marriage will be what the two of you make it. If you follow the pattern God has set before you, your love will grow stronger and stronger until your hearts are both inseparable and indistinguishable one from the other. My prayer for you is the same that the apostle Paul prayed for the Philippians,

“that your love might abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God” (Phil 1:9–11).

VOWS:

Aaron, Helena, at this time I am going to ask you each to publicly declare your commitment to one another by repeating after me your wedding vows.

[Aaron’s Vows:]
I, Aaron, take you Helena to be my wedded wife.
I will be your faithful husband,
guiding you and protecting you
as Christ does for His people.
I will love you in sickness as in health,
in poverty as in wealth,
in sorrow as in joy
and will be true to you by God’s grace,
trusting in Him,
so long as we both shall live.

[Helena’s Vows:]
I, Helena, take you Aaron to be my wedded husband.
I will be your faithful wife,
submitting to your leadership
and honoring you as Christ commands.
I will respect you in sickness as in health,
in poverty as in wealth,
in sorrow as in joy
and will be true to you by God’s grace,
trusting in Him,
so long as we both shall live.

EXCHANGE OF RINGS:

We read in the Word of God that when God made a covenant with Noah, He set a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of the promise between them. Aaron and Helena, you have chosen rings to be the reminders of your marriage covenant. The precious metal fittingly represents the ties uniting you as Husband and Wife. These rings are to be a symbol of the union of your lives which must continue until broken only by death. Let them be a constant reminder to you of your responsibility to fulfill your vows to one another.

Aaron, will you place this ring on the fourth finger of Helena’s left hand and repeat after me?
“With this ring, I thee wed
… in the name of the Father … and of the Son … and of the Holy Spirit.” Amen.

Helena, will you place this ring on the fourth finger of Aaron’s left hand and repeat after me?
“With this ring, I thee wed
… in the name of the Father … and of the Son … and of the Holy Spirit.” Amen.

CONGREGATIONAL SINGING:

Amazing Grace
(John Newton (1725-1807)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

PRONOUNCEMENT OF MARRIAGE:

For as much as AARON and HELENA
have consented together in holy wedlock,
and have witnessed the same before God and these witnesses,
and thereto have pledged their faithfulness each to the other,
and have pledged the same by the giving and receiving each of a ring,
by the authority invested in me by the Lord Jesus Christ and by His Church
and according to the laws of the State of Iowa,

I now pronounce that AARON and HELENA
are husband and wife together,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Those that God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

PRAYER:

“[May] the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

THE KISS:

Aaron, you may now kiss your bride.

PRESENTATION OF THE BRIDE AND GROOM:

Join with me in welcoming Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Auberg

RECESSIONAL:

“Lemonade” sung by Austin Auberg

Reception following at Wilton Community Center, Wilton, Iowa