It’s hard to say how many weddings I’ve officiated at – many. Tonight I have a rehearsal. Did you have one at your wedding (or if your not married have been in a wedding that had one)? They usually begin late – I won’t pass judgement on tonights, yet. They always start with an air of joviality. Sometimes the spirits that are enjoyed beforehand make the joviality more intense. Sometimes the attendants listen – the brides usually do and groomsman seldom do. I have developed the ability to stand outside of myself as I lead the rehearsal or wedding and observe. I see the differences, the facial expressions, the little beads of sweat forming on their foreheads, the clammy hands, the break in their voice, the nervous twitch as they balance on one foot and then the other. Oh, the ritual of it all.
I think of the first miracle of Jesus recorded in John 2 where Jesus is attending a wedding. These feasts – these parties – these festivals which lasted a week were a real affair. Why a wedding for the first miracle? It is a foretaste – a vision – a prophecy of the feast in the heavenly realms where God invites all to abide.
A great marriage can give you glimpses of heaven. The intimacy enjoyed, the sense of oneness, and the abiding beauty of a family can make it a preview of the heavenly banquet. Some might contradict me and say it is more a glimpse of hell – it may well seem that way to some but God is about he business of restoration and reconciliation – making all things new – even change our course when we need it changed. Where God offers a promise, there is hope – the first, second, and even third time around as it might be for some. We need to be open to God making things new when we have fouled them up.
I always pray a prayer for the couple who’s vows I will enunciate at the ceremony but the vows that are most important are the ones they have already exchanged with each other and with God. Make them faithful and true – give them patience and persaverance. Most of all give them love. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians thirteen, “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” So to those long married, those who are just newlyweds, to those hurt by failed love and broken dreams, and those who are planning that perfect day to showcase their wedded bliss – trust God, tell the truth, and always hope.