Summer is for brides and weddings, and I have been learning a thing or two at the ones I have attended this summer. Indoors and outdoors, Texas and Alabama, big cities and small towns. Hot nights, dancing on the dance floor, frothy white dresses with lace and sparkles and sage-green chiffon, like Grecian gowns flowing in the southern breeze- all memories of joy and celebration and a few new things to noodle.
Recently I had a vision of why God uses a wedding to begin and end the Bible. We were seated in a field in Alabama, down the hill from a barn, with our paper fans trying to get a smudge of air to blow on our necks. The attendants and moms and grandma had all made their way down to the front with the groom standing still with his attendants. As the violin started playing Be Thou My Vision, the double doors of the barn slid open and there she stood with her dad, the beautiful bride, a vision of sweetness and purity and joy. Absolute joy! My breath caught and I teared up as the holiness of the moment grabbed me, and I wanted to worship. The vision was so beautiful, so absolutely pure and holy; I had a small taste of what it is going to be like when Jesus comes for His church and the wedding celebration begins. Wow!
As she gracefully walked down the hill with her daddy, I turned to see the groom who was also overtaken by the beauty of his bride and the serious holiness of the moment. I was overtaken with joy and happiness for this precious couple. What a moment. It is etched on my eyeballs and on my soul. A beautiful picture of things to come for us as believers. . Worship. Celebrate.
Next up I heard a charge. I sat in a wedding venue out in the country and watched the beautiful bride, giddy with delight, almost run down the aisle in her frothy confection of a dress to her sweetie who was about to bust open with a big ‘ole smile. Again my heart was so full of joy! Young love. The sun was setting, bringing a golden haze to the room and the faces, and the pastor called on all the bridesmaids and groomsmen to take a charge.
“You are not just pretty decoration for this bride and groom, you have something to do.”
The pastor reminded the attendants that they had a job to do that extended forward into the future for their friends. A very special charge to hold that darling couple, their friends or sibling, accountable to the love they were pledging that day. To do all they could in their power to help that marriage and not harm it.
It was sobering to me. How many weddings had I been in? I lost count a long time ago. I began to think of the weddings I have stood up in and I wondered how I could reach out to those couples today to say,
“I am here. I am willing to hold you to the vow you made. I am here in sickness and in health.”
We need each other- the community of believers- to help us through this thing we call life and marriage. How can I reach out over miles and in real life to remind couples that I am here and that their marriage matters to a watching world? Good things to ponder.
So in these weddings I have attended, I have had a vision and a charge. The last thing I have learned is the importance of marking the wedding with a Celebration.
At the end of one wedding ceremony, the pastor invited us all to join the family for the wedding feast and celebration. Yes, sign me up. Celebrating to me includes feasting and dancing. We are talking about the life-giving, hands in the air, feel the beat dancing. And the best thing is, everyone can do this kind of dancing. No special skills needed. I think there is going to be loads of dancing and singing in Heaven and we should all dance a little more here. You?
A vision of things to come as seen in a beautiful bride on a hot summer night, a charge to love those in community with us and a reminder that we all need to celebrate and dance a little more. Perfect ways to end this month and go into the last days of summer. Oh, and I have one more wedding in August. Can’t wait! What Sursees are waiting there? I’ll be looking, will you?