It doesn’t seem too long ago that I was courting Christina and getting married to the woman of my dreams. Now, most of my friends (if not all) are married and have children. It seems as if I have come full circle now that some of the members in our church are getting engaged and planning on getting married (I still remember them as a freshmen).
In the last 2 months we have had some of our top leaders get engaged and now they are planning on getting married in 2009. Just recently we met up with Pastor Jimmy and Grace who are now engaged (congratulations guys… Christina and I are so happy for the both of you).
So this got me thinking. [Warning: This post will probably be misunderstood, taken in the wrong way, offend some people and cause some people to get bitter. But I felt it was important enough to share.]
There are some people who look at a wedding ceremony just as a ceremony (a formality that they have to go through since it is the right thing to do). The mindset is: “Just as long as a pastor (with a reverend title) officiates the ceremony, then the ceremony is complete.”
But over the years, I have noticed the difference between a wedding that goes through the formalities of a ceremony and a wedding that create a worship experience for the couple.
But once again, it is not just having all the right forms or elements in the wedding – more people are now including worship songs sets in the ceremony.
The difference I have noticed is the relationship that the officiating pastor has with the couple.
It just seems more intimate and personal when the pastor knows the couple. The wedding ceremony is brought to another level, if the pastor has become their spiritual father.
Maybe to bring this more to an understandable level, we can look at the relationship between the parents and the child who is getting married.
I have done a lot of weddings and the ones that stick out in my mind are the ones where the couple has a good relationship with their parents. Especially, when the couple ends up giving the roses and the hugs towards the end of the ceremony… it always moves me. In a weird way, I can sense the years of love, care and sacrifice that went into their relationship (between the parents and child). This makes it all the more special and creates a powerful experience for those who are witnessing the wedding.
This is the same sense I get when I am doing a wedding for a couple that I have developed a relationship with over the years. All the hours of discipling, rebuking, comforting, exhorting, encouraging, etc. create an experience throughout the ceremony that will be remembered. During the message, I am able to share stories about them and even joke around with them because of the closeness of the relationship.
Since, the couple has become my spiritual children, it brings a greater joy to my heart to see them make their covenant to marriage in front of me (I am wondering if this is what parents feel when they have to give their son or daughter in marriage).
But as I write this, I realized that there are many spiritual orphans who do not have a pastor that has become their spiritual father or a pastor that they are close enough to make the wedding ceremony beyond the formalities.
As I am preparing to do the weddings in 2009, I am looking forward to standing with the couples and expressing my gratitude to God for providing these kinds of relationships. They are truly partners in the Gospel, but more than that they are my spiritual children whom I love and want to bless.