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Summary: a wedding message chronicling the 5 weddings of the Bible

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Marriage.

These days some people are afraid of it. In fact there is a name for fear of marriage:

Gamophobia

According to www.fearof.net (a compendium of phobias),

psychological and emotional symptoms at the thought or subject of marriage/commitment:

Psychological symptoms include:

• Feeling of dread or terror at the thought of marriage.

• The person goes to great lengths to avoid the topic. S/he may experience uncontrollable anxiety that makes it difficult for the person to function normally.

• The individual understands that such fear is irrational but is powerless to control it.

• Really bad thoughts, movie stills or negative images are likely.

• Feeling of losing control or going crazy are also experienced by Gamophobes.

Physical symptoms of the fear of commitment are:

• Trembling

• Nausea

• Crying

• Rapid heart rate

• chest pain, dizziness, fainting

• Sweating, shortness of breath

I hope no one here today is suffering any of these symptoms.

A fear of marriage is, to me, frightening.

Have you ever met someone who was afraid of the dark, or spiders, or snakes? Have you ever told them all the reasons their fear is rational and right? And then told them, “Don’t be afraid”

Maybe we should take marriage seriously, and the Bible is pretty clear about that.

This is why during the invocation the traditional statement for the pastor to make is ‘this should not be entered into lightly”.

There is another fear I recently read about

Paledephobia-the fear of bald people.

I’m also hoping no one here suffers from this fear, otherwise this whole evening may be a terrifying experience for you.

Many people today seem to be afraid of marriage.

According to http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Marriage_and_divorce_statistics

“Since 1965, the crude marriage rate in the EU-28 has declined by close to 50 % in relative terms (from 7.8 per 1 000 persons in 1965 to 4.2 in 2011). At the same time, the crude divorce rate increased from 0.8 per 1 000 persons in 1965 to 2.0 in 2011.”

And

In the EU-28 as a whole, some 40 % of children were born outside marriage in 2012, while the corresponding figure for 2000 was 27.3 % (see Table 3). Extra-marital births increased in almost every Member State in the EU-28 during 2012 as compared with 2011, with the exception of Estonia. In seven Member States the majority of live births were outside marriage

For those who don’t like doing math, that is an increase of births outside of marriage of 68% from 2000 to 2012, and the rates have continued to increase

The rates in Europe are reflected throughout the world. This is a world-wide trend.

Yes. This is a wedding and I’m talking about how marriage is disappearing throughout the world.

Many people are avoiding marriage. It seems they are afraid.

The Bible does not paint an image of marriage that is all positive, but it is an image of hope and potential beauty which transcends sufficiently to quell the palpitations of a doubtful heart.

Today I’d like to look at 5 Weddings.

There are many marriages in the Bible-dozens. We may immediately think of several, Adam & Eve, Noah and . . . Mrs. Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebecca, and so on. These names conjure in the minds of people familiar with the biblical narrative images of common marriages, each with its ups and downs, its strengths & challenges. There are also notorious marriages like Jezebel & Ahab, or Ananias and Sephira. And, there are blessed marriages, like Mary & Joseph, Priscilla & Aquilla

There are dozens more marriages described in the Bible,

But there are only 5 weddings.

I think we can learn from each of them and all of them together what the Bible has to say about weddings in particular, and marriages in general.

Those 5 weddings are:

Adam weds Eve

Jacob weds Leah/Rachel

Solomon weds the Shunamite woman (no other name is given)

Someone weds Somebody at Cana

And

Jesus weds the Church

If you are already familiar with each of these you may realize 4 out of 5 of them are cautionary tales-each with a warning to all of us as we approach marriage.

One of them is the ideal toward which the Bible invites us to strive.

WEDDING 1

Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

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