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photo journal   |   A beach wedding

Marriage and Holy Matrimony
Saturday afternoon was just another beach day, until we arrived at the end of the path and saw what was planned. Beach weddings are very common from April through October - and they are always lovely and fun to watch. And that’s also quite strange, because it’s like having the general public just wander in and around your wedding - and of course, to the crowd, it’s a delightful spectacle - plus the crowd becomes part of the spectacle.

So strangers from all over are taking it all in, while wearing swimsuits and sitting on beach towels. It almost feels irreverent, but of course, it’s understood to be part of the package when you’re wedding is on a public beach.

It’s fun for me, as well… because I get to become a wedding photographer for a few hours, which I love, but wouldn’t want to do it for a living. Yet, in this setting, I’m snapping like crazy, because the backdrop, along with great lighting on a beautiful day, is such a delight to capture.

This wedding brought other thoughts I continue to ponder, as I watched and captured the occasion, through my lens. There was the contrast of the beginning of a journey, and one that has enjoyed most of it’s best years. This sweet couple arrived at the beach just in front of us, as we parked our car. I watched as he unloaded the walker for his bride, set up the umbrella and their chairs, then returned to walk her down the path to enjoy an afternoon in my favorite haven. It was so moving - his commitment to make her experience pleasant and joyful. I could tell he had done so for many years, and for him, putting her first was his pleasure. This senior couple had a perfect vantage point to enjoy the wedding, and it was interesting to think about this young couple just beginning their journey, and the older, who truly know what it takes to make it to where they are — years of loving, although.

Watching the wedding, I thought about the recent decision of the SCOTUS regarding the laws of marriage.

When it comes to marriage, as intended by our Creator, between man and woman - it’s so much more than legalized marriage — it is Holy Matrimony.  Yet, if there is no belief in God, or if His word (through the Bible) is not regarded as the core principles and values for life, then it’s understandable that others would not have the same regard for "Holy Matrimony". 

However, what someone believes does not change God, or His truth, for He is always the same, yesterday, today and forever. 

That which is sacred is made so because it is of God, by Him, and through Him. And when the marriage is as intended, then it is considered by God, as holy, and blessed. Blessed by God is beyond what we can truly understand - because if we did fully grasp the full scope of His blessings, we could always choose His way, as he intended. I know that’s why we are here, though. To learn this through the experiences of life, in order to have depth in our gratitude for His best, intentional plan for His creation - and to get to know the depths of His love, for us.

This is true for every principle in life. When life is lived as God created us, and intended for us to live - then it is blessed. Blessed means a life, or actions that are supremely favored, blissfully content, with fortunate outcomes. In fact, every choice we make - regardless of what we believe - creates an outcome. The outcome can impact us positively, or negatively. Generally, when the outcome is negative, we use the term consequences. In reality, all outcomes are consequential, by the very definition of the word - and the principle behind it.

 
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I’ve experienced both types of outcomes, as most of us have, because as humans - we make good and bad decisions, and do things that can impact our lives for good, or harm ourselves, as well as others. So, I know what consequences are, all too well. Which is to say that through my life I’ve made plenty of choices that produced less-than-the-best outcome — in fact, had I known (at the time) what the consequential impact would be, I would have chosen or acted, differently. As time passes, if we learn from our mistakes, hopefully, we choose differently — and choose blessing. A life without blessing is not a cursed life — it’s a life with greater challenges, struggles, pain, and frustration, and they can multiply with greater intensity, should we not learn from mistakes, and make better choices.

Choosing the blessing for our life actions simply means that we make choices that we know honor God, for He is the source of blessing. And should we choose otherwise, life can still be good, and meaningful — but it also contains heartache, pain, and suffering that we could have avoided, had we made different choices, or taken different action.

I know this to be true, because it’s my personal experience. Due to my poor decisions, and actions, I’ve found forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love from my heavenly Father — but I forfeited His blessing, the best plan, as it could have been. Life is less than the best that He had intended, for me. And frankly, more of us have this experience, than not. Because more of us choose the way that is not the best, blessed option — it’s our nature to “do it our way”. That’s where grace comes in. We know even the worst of mistakes can be forgiven, as we know the story of when Jesus forgave the 2 murderers, who were crucified with Him. Forgiveness doesn’t change the consequential outcome we must live through, on earth. It changes everything about how we spend eternity — in His presence, with all joy, and perfect peace.

Our actions today determine the future outcomes we experience. It’s like gravity... what goes up, must come down.

So single-sex marriage can be legal and accepted in our society — but it’s not Holy Matrimony as God intended, so it’s the less-than-the best choice for God’s blessing. God cannot bless, and honor a marriage that is not as he intended, according to His word. Just as he cannot bless a marriage that results from divorce, adultery or infidelity. I know this, personally, from my own experience. I’ve have forgiveness, and redemption through Jesus and His sacrifice for us all — but I don’t have the best that it could have been.

Therefore, my marriage is not Holy Matrimony, either. Personally, we have been blessed with a wonderful marriage, through grace.  Yet, since it’s not as God intended, the consequences from harm to ourselves, and others, of hurt, pain, and disappointment are very real, and always present. It’s the less-than-the-best outcome, and that was our decision to make.

Our society will see this play out, as the less-than-the-best actions (not as God intended) become “legal", but it doesn’t change the consequential reality for our children, and for future generations. That we will see — and I have no doubt we will — because I know this consequential reality of a legal marriage, but one that is not Holy Matrimony, and not His plan for marriage. Just because the law of the country changes to accept something that it, previously, did not — does not change God’s laws, as He intended, since before the creation of the universe.

Jesus calls us to experience a life of His love.

When we love Him with all we have - heart, soul and mind - and love others as ourselves, we are keeping His greatest and most blessed principle of life. Yet, when we choose different than He intended in these principles, or in other areas of our lives, we also bear the consequences. Love wins, yes. And love is blessed and favored, when we do so, His way.

I’m glad that God gives us the freedom to choose, whether it’s His intent and plan for us, or not.

We can choose to adore Him, or ignore and reject Him - but here is the reality. Consequences are inevitable, even when living as forgiven. 

That’s life y'all.

It’s my hope that His love will permeate the hearts of all marriages - whether Holy, or not - because His love will always wins, and always will, in the end. That’s the most important choice we will ever make. To believe in and accept His love — or reject it. No other choice comes remotely close to the consequences of this one decision. It’s the most blessed action of our entire life - because it impacts our life, for all eternity. As Dr. Jim Denison wrote in his cultural commentary, The Denison Forum, "We have all wandered greatly but have been invited back graciously."

May you know His love, receive it, and be immensely blessed by it — forever, Amen.