Summary: A wedding sermon for 2 members of our church (1 about to be ordained), based on Tobit 8:1-8
According to the internet, the top ten worries for couples on their wedding day include -
- worries about whether the bride/groom will show up (yup they’re both here)
- worries about whether the wedding dress will fit (yup she looks fabulous)
- worries about what the best man will say in his (her) speech (ooo still got to wait for that
The top ten unusual wedding worries include at no2 "My biggest fear is that my sister (the family drama queen) will go into labour during our ceremony." and at no 5 “That the DJ will get themselves arrested the night before and not show up for the wedding”
Now, I trawled the internet back and forth - google, yahoo, everything else but the one worry NOBODY mentioned was whether the Demon Asmodeus would come during the night and attack the bridegroom. However, Lee and Eileen, since you have picked this reading from the book of Tobit, I can see this is a concern for you, so I shall do my best to address this issue.
For those of you who are not very familiar with this bit of the bible, it’s about the wedding of a young couple called Sarah and Tobiah. Sarah has been very unlucky in love. She has had 7 beautiful weddings to 7 handsome grooms. And each time, during her wedding night the demon Asmodeus has come and murdered her new husband. And now she and Tobiah are getting married. And they (particularly Tobiah) are rather keen that this pattern doesn’t repeat itself. Now I want to reassure you - it is more likely that the DJ will get arrested or your sister will go into labour than that a demon will show up. BUT as St Paul puts it “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking and training in righteousness” - so however esoteric and obscure this passage from Tobit may be, there are PRACTICAL lessons to learn from it about marriage.
2) Committed Community
Tobiah has seen the odds. 7 out of 7 ex-husbands all demon-zapped. If he had any sense he would walk away. It would make the book of Tobit rather a boring story: but at least he would be safe. Thankfully for those who like a good yarn, that is not what Tobit does. He shows courage. He goes for it and he marries Sarah. Not blind courage - he’s not like some first world war soldier who has seen all his friends shot as they went over the top, and does so all the same. As we shall explore later, he makes an effort to do things differently. But it still takes courage to go ahead. Sarah and Tobiah did not have to risk it. They could have spent the rest of their life safe. Unhappy … but safe. It took courage to tie the knot.
Today, its not demons we face but divorce. We can pick up a newspaper or google the internet, and read the odds. Sadly, there’s far too many people today who say “I’m not risking it, I’ll play safe.” We are all very aware of the tragedy of divorce - we have all seen the pain of promises broken and relationships wrecked. It takes bravery to stand in the face of what seem scary odds, and say “YES” to marriage. It might be much easier to stay safe - unhappily single - but safe. of course that is true of everything in life - if we play it safe we will never succeed. In our careers and jobs as much as our family it takes bravery to stand against the odds and say YES to God.
And as the book of Tobit shows, nothing risked, nothing gained.
2) committed Community
“It’s not good for man to be alone” - This phrase is repeated at least five times throughout the Bible. As Mother Theresa puts it - “loneliness is the leprosy of modern society”. Loneliness and aloneness diminishes us as human beings. We are created for committed community - whether we express that by being part of the brothers in a monastery or a wife and husband in a marriage, we are created for committed community. We are made in the image of God the Trinity - we are created for committed community.
[get a ball out] father - are yoru windows double glazed. No? a single pain window is easy to smash. A double glazed window - I could bounce this ball off it a hundred times and it would not break. A double glazed window is almost impossible to break. Two pains of glass together are much stronger than two pieces of glass on their own - they can take anything the world throws at them. And so it is with a marriage - its humanity double glazed - it can take anything the world throws at it.