Wedding liturgies: having sown the wind...
Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female... (Matthew 19:4)
(Tim) Saturday, Mary Lee and I attended a wedding that wasn't much different from the weddings readers of Baylyblog attend each week. Which is to say the wedding was unisex in everything but appearance. The woman wore a dress and the man, pants. The maid of honor and bridesmaids were women; the best man and groomsmen were men. But the doctrine?
Preached through the liturgy, it was scrupulously androgynous. The bride wasn't commanded to obey her husband and the husband wasn't commanded to love his wife. Every word was addressed to persons; never man or woman, husband or wife.
Until about thirty years ago, pastors presided over wedding ceremonies drowning in the beauty of sexual diversity...
The clothing matched the liturgy matched the doctrine matched the difference--between Adam and Eve, that is. The pastor would read the account of God's wonderful creation of Eve from Adam's rib, to be his helper and lover. Then he'd read Ephesians 5 and expound on its sex-specific commands. He'd exhort the bride to submit to her husband as the Church submits to her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Then he'd turn to the bridegroom and exhort him to love his bride as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.
Trust me: it was inconceivable any preacher would get through his wedding homily without doing that beautifully boring thing Scripture does everywhere, which is to command wives to obey their husbands and husbands to love their wives.
But today in our world-weary corruption, we've worn sex out and it sits in our hands ragged and rotting. We say "sex" when we only mean copulation; all the rest is "gender," meaning social constructs and roles.
Fearing the world, pastors comply. We don't preside. We officiate at weddings, where we have no word for the wife-as-wife or the husband-as-husband. Only nostrums for androgynous persons.
In other words, Christian weddings today aren't Christian. Instead of bringing God's Word and blessing, pastors provide the party a certain gravitas otherwise lacking.
If you don't believe me, go to your next wedding and listen for anything that proclaims God's Order of Creation of Adam and Eve, man and woman, husband and wife. Listen for anything sex-specific; anything that honors this beautiful diversity placed at the center of His Creation by God our Father. Look for even a hint of man and woman.
But you remember I started by saying the wedding Mary Lee and I attended was "not much different" than a run-of-the-mill evangelical wedding? What's with the "not much different?"
Our wedding made explicit the androgyny evangelical weddings normally leave implicit: the Presbyterian pastor was a woman and one of the two scripture lessons was a reading from Goodridge v. Department of Public Health--the 2003 case of record legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of Massachusetts.
Really, evangelicals balk at androgyny only when it comes to the meshing of body parts. Which is to say that same-sex marriage isn't far off for us since we already practice same-sex liturgy.