I just love weddings! But on July 12th my firstborn son said, “I do” to the bride of his dreams and their wedding was the greatest, if I do say so myself. Why? Not just because it was my son’s wedding – and he looked smashing. Not just because I happen to truly love the beautiful young woman who walked down the aisle to become his wife. And not just because I got to wear a sweet dress and have my hair done up. Why? Because this wedding was spot on.
Weddings come in all types of creative packages these days. Church weddings, garden weddings, boat weddings, even ballpark weddings. Some are small and intimate, others large and boisterous. Some are formal and traditional, others casual and quirky. So you might be wondering what makes this wedding spot on in my mind?
The three “Rs” of weddings. (No, not reading, writing and ‘rithmetic!)
First of all, this wedding was right.
God brought together the right two people who chose to begin their life as one in the right way – thoughtfully, prayerfully, purely. It’s so easy to get caught up in the brilliant hoo-ha of courtship and wedding planning, and the brain-draining stress of life changes. But Brian and Anna majored on the majors – choosing to focus on maintaining a God-centered relationship and purposely preparing spiritually and practically for the life they would share after they said, “I do.” As beautiful as their wedding was, I am joyfully certain that their marriage will outshine it by light years.
Second, this wedding was redemptive.
God’s Word is clear that the sacrament of marriage is a vivid picture of Christ’s love for his bride, the church. God himself created marriage not only to bless us with companionship and physical love, but also to provide a living, breathing, tangible experience that parallels our redeemed state as followers of Christ. When we become a child of God we become the glowing bride of Christ.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV
Redemption. From the minister’s opening line I felt it, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!” Just like this wedding was the beginning of Brian and Anna’s life together, the spiritual redemption that Jesus provides is the beginning of real life for us all. From this day forward…
“Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!” (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Finally, this wedding was really, really fun!
I don’t consider myself a very fun person. “Fun” is just not a word I’ve ever used to describe myself. Fun is not something I usually go looking for. I’m comfortable with a book, or a pen, or a spoon and a spatula. Ask my closest friends – they’ll tell you. They have to drag me kicking and screaming toward “fun!” So when I say this wedding was fun, it really was. It was fun because Anna is fun. And her family is fun. Brian is fun. And their friends are fun. And our friends are fun.
It was fun because of the sheer delight spilling from the face of the bride as the new Mr. and Mrs. Brian Whartnaby were presented to the 250-plus fun seekers who witnessed their union. She truly was incandescently happy! She made me remember how I felt that day at the altar 30 years ago, as I became Mrs. Whartnaby. And even sweeter was the memory of that other day at the altar over 40 years ago, when I became the bride of Christ. That day too, was right and it was redemptive. And ever since then, I have to admit, along with the challenges and the storm clouds, the journey has been really, really fun.
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, which is more than the 828 I used to capture my thoughts and put them on this page. So I guess I really didn’t need to write this little ditty – I believe the picture says it all.