Monday, June 17, 2013

Reflections on a wedding

Mile log: 590

Another wedding has come and gone... Yesterday, our friends Joe and Lisa got married, and the Women of the Hobbit Hole were blessed to share in the celebration. Today as I drink my coffee and look at pictures and listen to romantic music and remember the highlights of the wedding, my mind is forming some clearer reflections on it all.

It was at their families' church, and their traditions (we were warned) are quite different from what we are used to. The wedding was part of the regular church service. There was no exchange of rings, no romantic songs/poems/personalized vows, no unity candle/sand/tree/what-have-you, no kiss (?!),  and no wedding march. As the congregation sang Psalm 23 in beautiful a capella four-part harmony (without a worship leader or choir), the entire wedding party came in together, including the bride. They all sat on the front pews for the sermon, and at the end of the service Joe and Lisa stood together and said their vows, and that was about it. Actually, I almost forgot that we were there for a wedding.

Initially, this felt very strange to me, even wrong. In every wedding I've ever been to or dreamed of, the bride and groom are the focus and centerpiece of the occasion. Even in Christian weddings, when they give God all the glory, they are the visual symbol we look at. And I've always thought that was the way it should be... and I still believe there is nothing wrong with that. But the more I think about it, the more it made sense, the way this wedding was done... it truly was not about the couple, but about worshiping the Lord and focusing on him, in a more literal way than I'm used to seeing. I definitely admire the humility it took for Lisa to surrender and submit "her day" to God like she did.

Sure, I really missed the moment when the music changes and everyone stands and looks to the back of the church to see her appear, so radiant and beautiful. And yes, I was pretty disappointed that I didn't get to relish the pastor giving them permission to kiss as husband and wife in front of everyone. But I left feeling like I had truly witnessed a holy and sacred thing, and that God had been honored above all... and I'm so thankful I got to be there.

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