Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM (Eucharistic Prayers & Post Comm. Collects)
               Divine Liturgy 10:30 AM

Wednesdays: Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM


I Now Pronounce You Man And Wife

May 18, 2019 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Verse: Revelation 21:1–7

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
May 19, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Easter 5
I Now Pronounce You Man And Wife

Then I saw a new heaven and new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more.

Then I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from God prepared as a bride-adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold! the dwelling of God is with men, and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. And he will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor tears, nor pain for the former things have passed away." And he who sits on the throne said, "Behold! I make all things new." Write this down for these words are faithful and true! And he declared to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega and the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I myself will give drink from the spring of the water of life without cost. The One who conquers shall inherit all things, and I will be God for him, and he will be my Son. (Revelation 21:1-6)

There is a difference between discovery and revelation. Discovery works from the outside in. Revelation works from the inside out.

Since the dawn of time man has longed to fly like the birds. In order to unlock the mystery many a determined men put their lives on the line. They jumped off towers and cliffs with wings strapped to their arms hoping against hope that they could fly like the birds! But for centuries they got it wrong. Dead wrong. Over and over again, and the mystery remained unsolved.

But all that changed some 120 years ago when the Wright Brothers uncovered the secret. In the year 1903 they had their first successful flight, and rest is history!

In 1914, just 11 years later, their discovery changed the face of warfare. Now armies could drop bombs on their enemies from the safety of airplanes flying high above the great big world.

Fast forward another 55 years to 1969 when their discovery allowed men to walk on the moon – an accomplishment that today registers a great big ZERO on our wonder-meters.

But how could we ever know the inscrutable God, or comprehend his plans except he should reveal them to us? Except he should show his hand? But this is exactly what he does in the last Book of the Bible commonly known as the Book of Revelation.

In it he reveals and divulges things otherwise undiscoverable. It’s true the Wright Brothers made an amazing discovery, and many other marvels have been uncovered ever since. But can finite man ever comprehend the infinite God?

People who fear his judgment – which is everyone – will say “yes!” They imagine that God will turn out to be just one more mystery solved. “Then,” they reason, “we can all get on with our lives in peace! We will never fear death, judgment or punishment for the wrongs we have done because there is no god!” (Ps. 53:1) That is what sinful nature desperately, frantically, urgently and anxiously hopes!

But we can no more know God apart from divine revelation than a hamster can understand the intricacies of the internet as he watches you surf the net through the bars of his tiny world. How much less can we know God apart from revelation. Apart from his gracious decision to reveal his holiness to sinful men?

In this wonderful book of Revelation from which all our post-Easter epistles come this year St. John soars across the heavens as on wings of an eagle, crying out over and over again (some 30 plus times in his Book), “then I saw, then I saw, then I saw, then I saw”!

But what did St. John see?

In this special vision he was given a panoramic view of all that God has done to rid his beloved creation the sin that has poisoned the well of humanity – and to restore us, and all creation, to unspeakable wonder with Christ.

Not just a return to Eden – as wonderful as it was! But the Good God has something even greater than Eden in mind for us. In the words of St. Paul, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)

The thing that St. John sees in today’s epistle, and reveals to all who hear the words of this prophecy is the Great and Glorious! end of all the baptized. The Messianic Wedding Ceremony. The nuptial mass, of all nuptial masses! Now the two, Christ and his Bride, become one flesh in a world without end!

When St. John writes “Then I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from God prepared as a bride-adorned for her husband,” he is describing the wedding march.

The Great Entrance of the Bride as she comes to the Altar to meet her Beloved who is, “The most handsome of the sons of men!” (Ps. 45:2) The king whose “throne is forever and ever” (Ps. 45:6), whose “robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia” (Ps. 45:8) and who “desires”, nay thirsts “for your beauty” (Ps. 45:11) with which he himself has made you beautiful. With which he himself has rendered you “without spot or wrinkle or blemish” (Eph. 5:27). A lavish washing away of soil by the unparalleled sacrificial love he displayed on the cross. And, too, by the nuptial bath of Holy Baptism wherein we are washed and made as fresh as spring; as white as snow.

Has sin made you hideous? Away with shame! To Christ you are a Delight.

Are you one of the world’s beautiful people? Count it as nothing! Because in comparison to what you will be in heaven, because of the Bridegroom’s great love your you, even the most delightful person by worldly standards is as ugly as sin.

And when St. John writes this word, “It Is Done” (Rev. 21:6) we should hear the declaration “I now pronounce you man and wife!”

Now the life of bliss is here! Now the “happily ever after” that Hallmark Movies attempt to portray, is arrived. Now the Blessed Bridegroom will bring you to the home that he has gone ahead to prepare. (John 14). And in this joyous marriage, this happy home, there will be no tears, no sorrow, no pain, and no death.

And there you will dwell in unspeakable grandeur. There your every thirst will be quenched. There your every dream will come true. There the wedding gift you received in baptism – the Holy Spirit – will confirm you in “everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness.” Even as Jesus is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. These words are “trustworthy and true!” (Rev. 22:6).

“Blessed is the one who reads them aloud. And blessed are those who hear them and hold them dear.” (Rev. 1:3) Amen.