Thursday, June 26, 2008

Whirlwind Wedding Weekend

One of my greatest joys in ministry is being able to be part of weddings. In a church our size it is often a challenge to stay connected with the people. That is why I take the time to blog and send e-mail updates out on a regular basis. That is also why I try to make myself available to officiate the weddings of anyone who attends Grace Church and who would like me to play a part. As a result, I end up officiating many weddings in the course of a year. In fact, in the 4 years I have been the Senior Pastor here at Grace, I have officiated 81% more weddings than I did over the 9 year period that I pastored in Indiana. Actually, I have officiated more weddings in the last 4 years here at Grace than I did in all of my 17 years of pastoral ministry combined prior to our moving to Lititz. Interestingly enough, just the opposite is true when it comes to funerals. Since becoming pastor here at Grace Church I have officiated 83% less funerals than I did in the 9 year span of my pastoring in Indiana. WOW! 81% more weddings and 83% less funerals! There are definitely more people marrying here at Grace than there are people dying.

I have already officiated 5 wedding weekends this year with 7 more already on the schedule. In fact, this weekend will be a whirlwind of wedding activity. Laura and I will return home from one of our Pastor of Connections visits on Friday. Our plane is scheduled to land at Harrisburg @ 3:32pm. We will then grab our luggage, rush home, say “hi” to the kids, change clothes (you know me…I’ll have to shower) and then we will need to head down into Lancaster city for a wedding rehearsal followed by the ever wonderful rehearsal dinner. This wedding will actually be taking place on Sunday evening (Sunday evening weddings are becoming far more normal). But sandwiched in between the Friday rehearsal and Sunday wedding I will also be officiating a wedding renewal here at the church on Saturday and preaching both worship services on Sunday morning.

Now that is a full weekend. But if a weekend is going to be full of activity, unless it is attending baseball games, it might as well be full of weddings. As you know, I am very “pro-weddings” and “pro-marriage.” It is my desire to be a pastor that leads a church that champions marriage. I mean, think about it. The Bible opens and closes with a wedding. In the opening chapters of the book of Genesis, God brings Adam and Eve together and, in an outdoor ceremony in the beautiful Garden of Eden, He Himself officiates the very first wedding. And then in the closing chapters of the final book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, we are invited to a wedding that is yet future. This one will be in the glories of heaven and is called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This will include every born-again believer in Christ who has ever lived as the Bride of Christ.

You see, God is also very “pro-weddings” and “pro-marriage.” After all, both are His creation. I obviously was not around for that first wedding in the Garden of Eden but I know for sure that I will definitely be part of that final wedding and Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven because I have put my faith and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I think that is part of the reason why I enjoy officiating weddings. To me, it is an anticipatory look at that great Marriage Supper of the lamb that is still to come.

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