December 19, 2018
Happy 50th Anniversary, Pastor John & Noël!
A Call for Rejoicing … and a Few Personal Memories
Marriage is “the doing of God” for the “display of God” (John Piper, This Momentary Marriage, p. 42). God joins two people together into one flesh for a glorious purpose. He designed marriage to be “a display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church” (Ibid.).
It is a joy to quote these words from Pastor John’s book on marriage not only because they are true and right and glorious, but also because they are particularly fitting today. This Friday, December 21, John & Nöel Piper celebrate 50 years of marriage. They have faithfully displayed the parable of covenant-keeping love for five decades. Those five decades of steadfast love point to the endless days of steadfast love that Christ and his church will enjoy forever.
Bethlehem, this is a time to join together joyfully. Rejoice with me with them! Christian hedonists, of all people, ought to know how to celebrate! And join me in savoring the glories to which their parable points: the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. I join them in the holy commitment that my marriage would be broken only by death. Let us join together in the blessed hope that our marriage to Christ cannot be broken by death because Jesus put death to death.
Recollections From Pastor Tom Steller
Pastor Tom Steller was a student of Pastor John’s at Bethel before they eventually came to minister at Bethlehem together—now, for 38 years (including serving at Bethlehem College & Seminary). We asked Pastor Tom to share a few memories, and here they are!
I remember …
- The Greek Class Christmas/Spaghetti Party in the Piper home in 1976. Toddler Ben Piper bit Dr. Piper in the shin, causing him to interrupt an animated theological discussion with a yelp. Noël chuckled in the background.
- Noël Piper giving part of her toe in a mowing accident to free “Johnny” up to work on the meditation for the Steller wedding.
- John giving countless public praises to Noël in poems, book acknowledgments, anecdotes—all illustrating the genuine honoring and cherishing of a husband for his wife.
- Noël bringing out the sweet Georgia tea on to the porch at 1604 Elliot in the early 1980’s as the Pipers and Stellers dreamed about creative ways to glorify God at Bethlehem.
- The Pipers not hiding from us the costs of ministry on marriage and family, demonstrating for the church an appropriate transparency which in turn helped many marriages work through tough times.
- John & Noël modeling God-centered grieving over the loss of parents, a granddaughter, much-loved friends and members of Bethlehem.
Much more could be said, but what needs to be said the most is that John & and Noël have pointed us to Christ throughout their marriage, through the joys and sorrows, the smooth-sailing and the rough-sailing, the times of intense investment in others and the times of quiet reflection together in the backwoods of Georgia and Tennessee. What a gift God has given to us in giving them 50 years of marriage. We love you, John & and Noël! We thank you! May God give you many more joys as you anticipate the great marriage supper of the Lamb.