Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. New International Version (NIV)
I was invited to go with my friend to Kentucky to witness her son and his fiancé get married recently. It’s been a while since I have been involved in weddings. We arrived on Thursday evening and had dinner with the couple. She was so cute and so excited and of course nervous.
The next evening was the wedding rehearsal. I went along with my friend and sat and watched. On the Altar table was a cross my friend had bought the couple for their new home and three cords. I asked what the cords were for. My friend explained it was for the wedding. They were going to do something different instead of a wedding candle or the new tradition of pouring sand into a glass bowl and becoming one.
I couldn’t wait until the next day to witness this. At one point in the ceremony the minister picked up the three cords and began to talk about how the two will come together and be one. He read this scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” He also talked about God being in the midst of their marriage. As he talked (later a song was sung) the two of them began to braid the three cords. Each cord represented the bride and the groom with the third cord representing God. As they braided the cords you could not tell which one was the bride, the groom or God. I was so impressed with this new method of joining two to become one with God among them.
After getting home I began to think about the marriages that succeed. My own parents were married for 52 years and only ended because of my mom’s death. My grandparent’s marriage was over 50 years as well. Greg and I will be celebrating 40 years this August. I know a number of couples who have celebrated marriages well over 40 years. The reason for all these successful marriages is because God was involved in these marriages.
As I sat there watching I thought about my own life. I realized that God has been a part of my life. As I looked at the three cords I thought about how prayer and reading the Bible has been braided into my life. I have looked back on my life and have realized those times in my life when my life was coming unraveled it was because I had not taken the time to pray or read my Bible. Those times I was strong and could not be broken was because I was reading my Bible (even to the point of studying scripture) and praying without ceasing. What an impression braiding the three cords made not only to me but to those attending the wedding.
I asked the couple what they plan on doing with the three cords that are now one. They were going to cut a piece off and give a piece to her parents and give a piece to his mom. Then the rest of it would go in a frame with their names and date to be remembered. Not only will it be remembered, but it will be a visible sign for them of the commitment they have made not only to each other, but also to God. I am thinking I will at some point take three cords and braid them and make a commitment to God never to come unraveled again and to hang it up as a reminder of the commitment I have made to Him.
The day after their wedding (which was a Sunday) this couple attended their first worship service together. Because of some things that had taken place in their life they wanted to share their testimony. They shared how God had worked in their engagement and led them to marriage . At the end of the service they rededicated their lives by celebrating baptism. They chose to be immersed. The minister offered baptism to the husband first and then as he proclaimed the words the husband immersed his new wife. I don’t know many but I know there were a few tears shed that day; not tears of sadness but tears of pure joy. I could only imagine the joyous sound that took place that day in Heaven.
As spring ends and summer arrives many couples will be taking their vows this year. I wonder how many will really stop and contemplate what those vows mean and how involved God will be in their marriage. Maybe you have a son, grandson, or daughter or granddaughter getting married I hope you encourage them to include God in their marriage.
I hope also you take the time to think about your own life. Have prayer and bible study been braided into your life? Those times that you have come unraveled was it because you weren’t praying or studying the Bible?
As I experienced this marriage I was once again reminded how important God is in my life and my marriage. I also am reminded that prayer and bible study must be braided into my life so much so that I will be made stronger in God and will not be broken. I checked on the good old internet and found out you can braid four strands of cords. Imagine you being one strand, God being a strand, Jesus being another and finally the Holy Spirit. If we braided ourselves into these other three cords we would be even stronger. It would be almost impossible to break four cords. That is what God wants for our lives to be so braided into Him, His Son and the Holy Spirit that nothing could break us. That is something I’d like for my life how about you? The only way it could come unraveled is for us to unravel it.
I believe this is one wedding I won’t forget for some time. I also think the image of them braiding three cords is one that won’t leave me for some time.
I encourage you to find some cord, get away by yourself and make a covenant with God as together you braid the cords into one. Keep it as a reminder of the commitment you have made to Him.
Dear Lord: Thank you for the opportunity to witness this marriage and to be reminded of my commitment to you. For I know as long as I am braided with Bible Study and praying I will be made strong in You. Thank you for teaching me that four cords is even stronger. Thank You for the symbolism of how four cords coming together is almost impossible to break. Let me be reminded you will never unravel the cord only I can do that. When I begin to unravel help me to braid myself once more around you, your love, grace and mercy. Bless this young couple and may other couples follow their example as they take their vows this year. Amen.