I get to be in the pulpit so rarely these days, that I’m just looking for an excuse to do minister stuff. As luck would have it, I was contacted over a year ago by one of my former youth group members about performing his wedding. I quickly agreed, and we communicated over the year, making all our plans until, at last, the big day arrived last weekend.
As weddings go, it was one of the most fun I can remember. When big families were involved, I used to prefer to do funerals to weddings. As long as I didn’t try to treat funerals like a Billy Graham crusade, no one ever complained, but if you get a big family at a wedding, you can find yourself fighting off a devastating horde of competing opinions.
I used to use a coaches’ whistle to get their attention and remind them that I was only going to respond to the wishes of the bride. Sometimes it worked. This wedding was a lot better in that regard since there was a planner who got to tell everyone where to go and I just had to talk them through the ceremony. What luxury!
Or at least you’d think it was a luxury. We (the guys) were supposed to enter through a tunnel under the sanctuary and come out from behind the pulpit. When the time came for the wedding, after all the rehearsals, I was hearing the music that was supposed to be playing right before our entry, so I turned to the guy next to me and asked, “who’s the guy we’re waiting on before we go into the tunnel?” He replied with “I’m that guy,” at which point, I started shoving the groom’s party down the steps into the tunnel. We get to the end of the tunnel, I turn on the mic, and I can’t get them to be quite. I doubt that any of them heard me as I covered the microphone and stage-whispered “live mic!!!!” Somehow, we got out there in order and almost stood in the right places as the ring-bearer (a very young child with a toy firetruck) and the rest of the people made it to the front. The bride and her father were smiling as they came down the aisle, to the point were they seemed about to laugh. The ceremony? What ceremony? I went through things so fast, stopping when the groom misheard me once, that I had to keep cutting line after line from the pre-approved ceremony, just to keep up. After the pronouncement, any thought of prayer or ceremony went out the window, as the couple was practically dancing in their eagerness to run down the aisle and start their life together.
The reception afterward was fun, too, once we found it. Although it was held in a place of uttermost darkness and evil (Papa John’s Stadium), it was a largish party with all the trimmings, music, people and whatnot. I had a lot of good talks with people who I had not seen in a very long time, and the bride and groom were practically radiant, as they participated in all the usual post-wedding rituals and dancing. A good time was pretty much had by all.
So, through all the exciting events of the rehearsals, the wedding, the parties, and everything else, something exciting emerged. This couple, which was by every measure a fun-loving, irreverent, and light-hearted pair, chose to celebrate their marriage in their church, with all the relatives and significant people in their lives invited to attend. A lot of people would like to share their good times with their inner circle, but how many people share them with God these days, and really mean it? These people really feel that God is an integral part of their marriage, and it’s hard to argue with a marriage that starts on that basis. They also understood that, for all the seriousness that comes with their mutual commitment, there is abundant room for serious fun. Joy is sometimes in limited supply these days, but the happy couple, and their extended family had it, and they brought it into the marriage.
Hopefully, in the future, they will remain the kind of people that you just want to hang around with. For now, I am still really happy to have been a part of their star