Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wedding Reflections

Before I became a pastor, I was involved in a grand total of two weddings. The very first wedding was my own. The second was my sister's; I was the matron of honor/only female wedding party member/personal attendant. Our weddings were very similar in some ways and very different in others. But both were small.

Now as a pastor, I've been involved in a number of weddings ~ from very small (the couple, their children as attendants, and immediate family) to one this weekend (7 attendants on each side, plus a flower girl and ring bearer). I do meet with couples for three sessions before the wedding--to talk about common issues that couples encounter and about the ceremony itself and often to allow me to get to know the couple. Many of these are people who are not active or involved in the church; some have parents or grandparents who are. Rarely do we have weddings for non-members, due to a policy established before I came to this congregation.

At each wedding though, I have wondered why the couple has come to the church for the wedding though. And I do ask that question in my sessions. For many, the answer is tradition or it's important to my family. Some do say that they do have a faith background and for a step such as marriage, they want to recognize God's involvement in it.

Either way, though, I find it hard to preach at weddings. I know the bride and groom aren't listening very closely...let's be honest. I don't know most of the people gathered. I can't even see them...I stand at the altar with the bride and groom facing me and I'm short, so I can't see over them and it's sometimes difficult to see around attendants. I guess I can only hope that proclaiming the good news of God touches someone each time. I just have to proclaim and let it go. Easier said than done.

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