I conducted a wedding rehearsal this evening for a young couple. It’s quite an experience to be so closely connected to such an important milestone in a person’s life. In this most ancient of rituals the friends, turned lovers, become husband and wife.
Attending a wedding ceremony is one thing; hearing the “blah, blah, blah” as one counts down the minutes until the open bar, it’s quite another to be standing less than two feet from the guests of honor. The bride has undoubtedly devoted months of planning, preparation, and plenty of tears to make this a special day and herself radiant. The groom has endured the bridal shows and showers as he smiles for his bride-to-be and usually seems a bit overwhelmed.
On the wedding day for a few short minutes this young couple stands in front of me. I get to see the nervous smile, the sweaty palms, and shaking hands. I get a close look at the intimate interchanges: the “I love you” whisper or the extended glances.
Years ago I packed a lot into a wedding “message.” I figured it was my shot to say something profound the couple would remember (what a joke) or one of guests would comment on. Now I realize I have only bit-part to play on this wedding stage; part court jester and part usher.
The star actors make the grand entrance to publically pronounce that a drama of epic proportion has begun. You see, my faith tells me that things are not always as they seem. This may look like a fairy tale but truth is it will be more like a battle. To survive it will take immense courage and sacrifice. John and Stasi Eldredge write in Love & War, “A boy and a girl thrown together in some desperate journey. If we believed it, if we actually saw what was taking place right here, right now, we would cross ourselves. We would say desperate prayers, earnest prayers. We would salute them both and we would hold our breath for what happens next.” Wow!
As I think about the ceremony tomorrow, I think I’ll spend more time praying for them than preparing how to officiate. They’ll be in much better hands that way.