At the church where I pastor weddings are few and far between. Let's just say that the median age of the congregation is not early-to-mid-twenties (which, on a side note, shouldn't have anything to do with it...so come on y'all, let's get a little romance goin'). But when I DO get to preside over a wedding in a year, it's a wonderful thing. Getting to preside over the marriages of friends and family is even better.
In any case, I have been in the middle of some very fun weddings over the years, either singing, playing the piano/organ or presiding. One wedding I was involved in was a "jeans" wedding in the 70s. The minister was, for lack of a better term, a "hippie", and opened the ceremony by asking each of us there (only around 20) if the couple were married. I'm glad I wasn't first in line, but the answer that everyone gave (including me, eventually) was "Yes". His response was, then when this couple's surrounding community of family and friends recognizes them as one household, they are. Not conventional, but interesting...OH, and I was there as a part of a puppet troupe that performed during the reception ('not kidding).
At another, the Bride (whose veil had not been pulled back by her father) leaned to light a candle and, as I was playing soothing background music, heard the soft "whoosh" sound as her veil (and eyebrows) were singed off in an instant, only a little puff of smoke left as testimony. No one was hurt, thankfully.
A few years ago I married a couple in their 30s, professional truck drivers who found that they had a short break in the Bride's hometown of Anderson to take a few days off and get married. The marriage wasn't spur-of-the-moment, but the date was because of the nature of their work. It was a fun, family affair in a private home and there was much laughter and love. They've discussed the merits of the Indianapolis Colts (her team) and the Chicago Bears (his team) They exchanged team jerseys in a symbol of love and acceptance and they will live in the truck that they share, with a storage unit for things they can't carry along. Their life is truly a journey. This wedding was a rest stop on the way to the next place.
I officiated at more traditional weddings also. Some filled with satin and lace. A young, beautiful bride and a tall, handsome fireman-groom were wed in candle-light and music in our historic sanctuary. The bride's parents reflect the changing definition of "family" in this century, as eight people (birth parents, step parents, adopted parents) stood in the front row and gave her away. It was beautiful. Their wedding, like so many, was a first and big step in a new life and one more branch on a very large and inclusive family tree. Their life will truly be a journey of growth and acceptance.
This year I've done more weddings than usual...and been privileged to either sing or preside at weddings of good friends, much younger than me, who still honor me by asking me to share their great day with them. Lately I've married people who have been married before, I've presided over ceremonies for "first-timers", I've married folks in their homes, in parks, in my office, and in our sanctuary. I've married couples in their "upper years" and those I would consider young kids. I've said the vows, blessed and legally officiated with couples who are made up of Bride and Groom, Bride and Bride, and Groom and Groom. I've married couples who join their children from other marriages together, and couples who have none.
And all of these weddings and marriages show me some truth, again:
has a story and everyone is on a
,no one is "uninteresting", everyone is a fascinating book to read.
2. Everyone moves FROM a different place and AT a different pace. Everyone's journey is different, even if they're all traveling in the same direction.
Just because many people have the same goals and worship the same God doesn't mean that they'll be walking at the same pace, or even on the same road.
3. Everyone needs love. As the scripture says, "love covers a multitude of sins", "I give you a new command; love one another", and as the Beatles say, "all you need is love".
4. And these days (as it's always been, I suppose) everyone's "family" is different. There is no right way to judge someone else's definition of "family". If God is in the home and at the table then His presence alone defines it as a home and family, as Jesus said it would. Who are we to redefine it.
My prayers, my support and best wishes go to all who have allowed me to be part of their celebrations. Thanks for allowing me to share in your journeys. Thanks for showing me the height, depth, and width of God's love.
you all...see you in
'Love you all...see you in Church!
Join PASTOR RICK during one of the evening worship times at the INDIANAPOLIS CONVENTION CENTER this coming July!
Evening Worship is free to all. Registration is required for daytime activities. Click on the link to see the Schedule for this year's GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
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