Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Family Affair

Life changed for me when my folks died in a variety of ways. Holidays were always spent in St. Louis with my parents. Mom and Dad had a great number of friends and this is about two of them who did so much for our family in the last several years Roger and Nelda Hawley walked the earth. This is from December 31, 2006.

I rarely go to weddings. I should clarify that statement by adding I rarely go to weddings in which I am not the minister; they make me nervous. But today I was present as a couple exchanged their marital vows. It was not your typical, run-of-the-mill wedding. There was no bevy of bridesmaids in matching dresses or groomsmen lined up in tuxes. There was not a flower girl or a ring bearer in sight. There were no candles lit and no grand entrance to Here Comes The Bride. And, as soon as the bride and groom had been introduced as husband and wife...they sat down. You see, this marriage ceremony took place in the middle of Sunday morning worship service. Mike and Susan, friends of my parents, recently became engaged and informed Wade, the minister of their congregation, they would like to tie the knot on a Sunday. That sounded good to Wade. Then, they added it would be great if they could be married with their church family in attendance. Wade agreed that it was a marvelous idea and so after the sermon this morning, we had a wedding. A reading, a hymn, the vows, and the most unique wedding I have witnessed was official. Mike and Susan rejoined the other worshippers, we remembered the sacrifice of Jesus in our taking of the Lord's Supper, several hundred voices beautifully sang The Greatest Commands, my dad gave the blessing of the elders to the church and the newlyweds, and the congregation retired to a classroom for a punch and cake reception. No rice/bird seed and no garters/bouquets were tossed when Mike and Susan walked out of the church building for the first time as a family unit but those would have seemed out of place. Those are time-honored traditions but these nuptials were non-traditional. Then again, this might have been the most traditional wedding I have ever observed.

Did you know that the word wife is mentioned in scripture before the bride-elect of Adam, the stunning I presume Eve, is even named? As Christians, we are constantly reminded of the importance God places on the family. We hear explanations of Jesus' parables that revolve around wedding themes. The concept of the church being the bride of Christ is frequently reinforced. And, we recall the signs of Jesus commenced at a wedding where six vats of water turned into six vats of the finest wine. So what could be more natural, and Biblical, than for a Christian couple to formally declare their love for each other in the sight of their Christian brothers and sisters? Look, I have preached a number of weddings and I enjoy being part of an elaborate ceremony with elegant decorations and limousines. In every wedding I have officiated, the Lord's teachings have dominated the service. But today, I saw a wedding in its most simple and pure form. The couple was blessed, the congregation was edified, the Lord was praised, and there was no rice to sweep up. What could be better than that?

Applicable quote of the day:
"Goin' to the chapel
And we're gonna get married..."
The Dixie Cups/ 1964

God bless,

Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


Jeep said...

Hey Steve. I just now had the chance to read what you said about our wedding and I really appreciate the fact that you truly understood why we wanted to do our wedding as we did. We were not only pledging ourselves to each other, but especially to God and our church family as a couple. What a wonderful way to begin our lives together.

Love and prayers,


JKC said...

What a wonderful idea! I fear that too often so much importance is placed on the "things" of a wedding that the most important part is often simply skimmed over. I have read Susan's comment and I truly appreciate what she said - that they were not only pledging themselves to each other, but especially to God and their church family.

I pray this will be an example of weddings to come.