Wedding for Harley Paige Gentry and Wilson Cromwell Imel
Harley and Wilson, my heart is beyond full today; in fact, I find it nearly impossible to put into words my gamut of emotions.
Wilson, words are inadequate to describe just how much joy you bring to your mom and dad. Of course, I still think of you as a little boy, but in the past several months you have proven yourself to be a man of God. You have studied the Word of God with Harley, you have brought her to our Lord, and you have baptized her into Christ. I’ve even been told that you studied marriage and divorce with her recently. The two of you went to the words of Jesus and recognized his authority on the subject, but I would be remiss if I didn’t go to those words this evening: Matthew 19:3-9.
Those aren’t popular words, and they aren’t words followed by many in today’s world, but they are the words of the Sovereign of the universe. God’s plan was one man and one woman for life. That’s it—unless, God forbid, there is death or fornication—this is the only marriage God will ever recognize between the two of you. God’s rules for marriage are firm and restrictive. No matter what the laws of this land might say, the laws of the Lord of all has the final say.
Harley, welcome to this crazy family. You complete my son and make him happy. That means you aren’t my daughter-in-law; you’re my daughter. And I assure you that we will treat you that way. We will love you, we will accept you, and we will value you as long as we shall live. As you have dated Wil, you have shown your heart—from obeying the gospel to loving our son—and I’ve grown to love you, although I had never met you.
Woman was created to complete the man: Genesis 2:18-24. Because the woman completes the man, you two become a unit. You don’t come to Mom and Dad when you have a fight, you don’t give up when things get difficult, you don’t keep secrets—you are one, and you share your lives and your bodies with one another.
I do feel that I must deal with the “elephant” in the room. Some might say that you haven’t known one another long enough to get married. Well, Wilson, your dad doesn’t have a leg to stand on in that light—I asked your mom to marry me after we had dated for one week, and we’ve now been married for 26 years. Lyndon Johnson, the 36th President of the United States (and a Texan!), asked Lady Bird to marry him on their first date.
But I want you to think about Isaac and Rebecca. Those two had never met each other when they got married, and the Holy Spirit recorded: “Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her” (Gen 24:67). Please notice that wording—Isaac married Rebecca and then he loved her: in that order.
You see, love is not an emotion that sweeps you off your feet; rather, love is action: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Notice how the Holy Spirit described love—the way you treat one another. You love not by how you feel, but how you act. There will be days you don’t feel love for each other—trust me on that! It is on those days you must show your love more than on any other day.
Today you pledge that love to one another. May God bless you all the days of your life.
Cord of Three Strands
“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl 4:12). This verse speaks about the strength of numbers and how the bond between two people can become even stronger with God at the center of their relationship.
This Cord of Three Strands represents God, Wilson, and Harley. This symbolizes the joining of one man, one woman, and God in marriage. By keeping the Lord God at the center of your relationship, you. believe that your love will continue to grow and bind you together.
The fitting of this ring with its unending circle symbolizes my everlasting love for you. The placing of this ring on your finger, is the fulfillment of my dreams, to have you as my friend, my love, my husband/wife, to live as one forever.
With this ring, I give you my heart… From this day forward, You shall not walk alone. My heart will be your shelter, And my arms will be your home.
As an honored father and a minister of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I pronounce you husband and wife. Son, you may kiss your bride.