This weekend I was privileged to not only be witness to but officiate the incredible, memorable and incomparable wedding of my childhood friend, Rowland, to his beautiful bride, Angela! The four day wedding celebration was a study in family, friendship, commitment and love.
Jennifer and I, along with everyone in attendance, were exceptionally treated to chic, modern, yet richly cultural wedding and reception filled with traditions from two cultures that were worlds apart. Somehow, in the same spirit of friendship and acceptance, the couple – and their team – meticulously married (to use the appropriate word) the two cultures seamlessly together (in likeness of their relationship).
As part of the wedding ceremony I was given the opportunity to charge the couple with a charge for marital commitment. Out of requests to hear the charge again by those who heard it, I have made this Charge available below.
THE CHARGE TO THE COUPLE:
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Marriage is God-ordained. From the time that God created Adam, He sought to provide him the help he needed. God, in His wisdom, created animals from four footed beast to winged creatures to scaled and non-scaled animals in the sea; but no help was found for Adam. And because God saw the condition of man by himself, He created Woman.
Now Adam was created from the dust of the ground. Rich in the nutrients of God’s freshly created world, Adam was formed in the likeness of God’s foreseen Humanity. And though Adam was the shadow of the Son of God, Adam was just dust and dirt.
But Adam was special. Adam was not made from the animals. He was not made from the particles of the winds. There were vegetation there, but Adam was not made from the trees… Adam was of the earth, earthly. And though the animals, the earth, the seas, and the skies were spoken to existence, Adam was fashioned by the Hands of God.
Then God breathe into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, the Bible says, and man became a living soul. Yes, a portion of the divine was inspired into Adam. And that wind of divinity stirred up inside of him and he came to life. (And so man today, the descendants of Adam, have the soul, the apportioned breath of God. Thus we are more divine than we may consider. And thus our inner desire for a connection with the Breather and the Breath.)
Nevertheless, though Adam was the handiwork of God and though he was made alive by the Breath of God, he still needed help. (Even with God, Adam was still alone.) The Bible says that God saw Adam and that he was alone, and God, in His Wisdom, knew that it is not good for a man to be left to himself.
In all the days of God’s creative process, there was only one time when He created and said, “It’s not good.” God had spoken light and light shone and He said it was good. God spoke of land and the land appeared, and He said it was good. God spoke of oceans and skies and land animals, sea animals, and winged creatures, they appeared and by His Word they were brought forth; and He declared all of it was good. But when He saw Adam all by himself, He declared, “It is not good.” So God made Adam to fall asleep. And from Adam’s side, He drew out from him his help-meet, the Woman! Adam called her Eve.
Now, Eve, like Adam was not spoken into existence like the surrounding environment, vegetation and animals around them: she, too, was fashioned by the Hands of God. Likewise, Eve was not created from an animal. She was not created from particles of the winds. She also was not created from the trees, but unlike Adam, she was not created from dust and earth. Out of Adam came Eve. From Adam’s side, God brought her out. Adam was earthly, Eve was human. Eve was the first, true human being. And while Adam was commanded to mind the Garden, Eve was to mind Adam, her man, and later her family – the micro-community of all humanity.
When we look at the creation story of Adam and Eve, we have so much to learn about marriage, relationship, value, belonging, equality, potentiality and every positive thing. But one of the things, I feel, people miss, is the simplicity of it all.
God did not have a hard time bringing Adam and Eve together. One slept while the other was made ready. One was created, the other was gifted. See, God created Adam and, if we look at Scripture, in a sense, God only had Adam in mind. The woman was not part of the “original” Creative Plan, otherwise God would have created Eve as He was creating Adam. In fact, God was finished when He created Adam, but Adam was not yet done. When God looked at Adam, He saw that Adam needed a woman. So the woman is actually the completion of man.
And finally, when Eve was brought forth from Adam’s side … God rested from all His creative work and man along with mankind, flourished! See, it’s not just that man is not complete until he is married, it is that God is not rested if he’s still single.
So this is my charge to you ROLAND:
Know daily that God is at rest having given you Angela. There are a billion, I suppose, myriad of things that God does on a daily basis, but not one of them is giving you a helpmeet! So, love the gift of God! She is your humanity. Angela is God’s answer for your aloneness. Angela is your partner and God’s rest for you! Keep her. Name her with lavish names of a woman made for you. I charge you, witnessed by your family and friends, to keep her by your side at all times for she is bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh! Do you accept this charge?
This is my charge to you ANGELA:
Though you were born of your mother and covered by your father, you have chosen to be borne from Roland’s side and be flesh of Roland’s flesh. So, let your desire be towards him. May you be his humanity when earthly things bombard him. Let him sleep knowing that you have made your life wholly connected to him. Honor him. Favor him. Big him up! Let him know that you are his Woman as he is your man! I charge you, witnessed by your family and friends, to be God’s rest for this man. Do you accept this charge?
Marriage is ordained by God. It is the divine order by which God brings two lives together. He first did it with Adam and Eve (God being the first officiant). Today we follow in His provision for bringing man and woman back into union; making one what was once twain. And because God has brought you two together, let no man break you apart! God has tied you to each other. Don’t let anyone untie what God has tied together.
Rowland and Angela, thank you again for the awesome privilege. We love you! Here’s to love everlasting!