Encouragement and Reflections from a Christian Friend

Brandon asked that I give a short exordium entitled Encouragement and Reflections from a Christian Friend

And so I want to do that. Brandon is my friend and I am a Christian. So it works out quite well. Brandon and I became friends at Hillsdale College. We were both drawn to the life of thought and letters and what that means as a Christian. And as I was thinking about what to say about marriage today I kept coming back to this combination – the contemplative life and the life of a Christian. Let me explain.

Brandon has a knack for writing and a sweet tooth for good literature. I’m also the kind of person who enjoys having pages flick my fingers. This is something Brandon and I have in common because it allows us to enter into what the Western tradition has called the Great Conversation. This conversation asks questions like, “What is good? What is true? And what is beautiful?” This conversation has been carrying on by intellectual giants for several millennia. But here’s where being a Christian changes things. Being a Christian means more than merely entering into conversation. Being a Christian is less about entering into a great conversation and more about entering into a great gospel brawl. Being a Christian means entering into warfare. But how does warfare relate to marriage?

In Genesis 3:15, God promises to pick a fight with Satan – that serpent, or that dragon whom Adam failed to fight against. God says concerning His Son, the Second Adam, that, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This is the first whisper of Christ’s victory on the cross. And it is more than mere whisper. It is God trashing talking the opposing team. He is taunting the bad guys. He is saying, “I am going to kill you and I’m going to get the girl you tried to kill.” And how does He do this? He does it by sacrificing Himself. He does it by letting a mob, a pretentious religious elite, an abdicating Roman prefect, and knuckle dragging soldiers, beat him, mock him, spit on him, and nail him to a piece of wood for the sake of his girl. This is good news – this is Gospel. Because all of us are that girl, in that all of us need saving, but all of us are also the brawlers in that all of us in the Church as the Body of Christ are participating in overcoming the Evil One, the serpent, or as John says that murderer from the beginning.

But how are we conquering?

Through things like this, today. God has instituted this Gospel story in little bite-size chunks called marriage. Every individual marriage is like a preview to a really great movie. If done right, you’re going to want to see the whole thing. Or like a quote from a really great book. If it’s appealing enough, you’re going to want to read the whole book. Marriage is a symbolic representation of the union between Jesus Christ and His Church. Paul says this is mystery, but it is a mystery that has been embedded in the story of mankind since creation – it is the story of the Bible. It is the foundational story of every great story ever told. It is the story of killing the dragon and getting the girl.

Let’s pray: Father, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to witness the covenant between Brandon and Jenna. We thank you that you that you sent your Son, the Second Adam to fight and win where the First Adam was passive and lost. We thank you that you’ve instituted marriage to be a proclamation of life and good news to a dying and hopeless world. We ask that you bless the union of Brandon and Jenna and that their union would be living proof of the joy found in your Son and His Bride the Church.