Reflections on Weddings

June 19, 2004 — Leave a comment

I should be working on my sermon, but of course that is too logical, so I will write some unrelated words which will hopefully spark the creative juices.

I’m in my office at the church, having just completed my third wedding in the past several months. As weddings go, this was a simple one. There was a small crowd and few attendents. The couple was older, which I find often means less pomp and splendor as they seek to control costs. It was a time of worship and laughter and celebration (and the celebration continues down the hall as folks eat barbecue (Michael Toy would be happy) and dance.

Folks often ask if I enjoy doing weddings. It frankly is a mixed bag. On the one hand there is some fun in presiding at this event in folks lives. But unfortunately weddings usually come at difficult times, requiring time away from the family. They also are much more work than folks might imagine, not the actual ceremony, but everything leading up to the big day. You see, I maintain a policy that requires 4 to 6 hours of counseling prior to the wedding. Those sessions are usually intense, and require some forethought. They also require figuring out times to meet, again often at the expense of family time. Yet, those counseling times are special times when God’s grace is present, so I don’t often belittle them.

I believe that weddings have a sacramental nature, that is, to use brother Wesley’s description, they are a means of God’s grace. One of the reasons that I perform weddings for non-Christians is my belief that God is somehow offering grace in this service even if they aren’t aware of it. I make it a point to stress that fact as a part of my counseling process.

What frustrates me at times is the amount of money and resources that we put into this sacrament, while often ignoring the more primary sacraments of baptism and communion. What would it mean to our understanding of baptism if we were to decorate the church in a special way for those services, and then hold a great banquet in celebration afterwards. Protestants in general don’t go there, and I think that is a huge loss.

Well I’m boring myself with this musing, so I’ll head back to the sermon.

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