Holy Asides
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October 13, 2015, 1:03 PM

My Son's Wedding Reflections

As most of you know, my oldest son, Jonathan, got married at the beginning of the month. I had the privilege of officiating the service, and it was a marvelous and joyous event. Over the past ten days I have had time to reflect on some of the highlights, and I wanted to share them with all of you.

The Generosity of Grace Community Church. Jonathan and Sam, his wife, had planned an outdoor wedding at her mother’s house. Unfortunately, the excessive rain caused by Hurricane Joaquin caused them to change their plans. The husband of one of Sam’s co-workers is the pastor of Grace Community Church, and they generously opened their doors from Thursday through Saturday for the decorating and organizing of their marriage celebration. Pastor Steve and his wife were gracious throughout the weekend, and I was very touched by their gift of hospitality.

The Involvement of My Family. Of course, I was beaming with pride that all of my children were part of the wedding party. My daughters looked gorgeous, and both of my sons were quite handsome (not that I am objective). But, it was also wonderful that both of my grandmothers were present at the service. It is very rare that a groom has two great-grandmothers in attendance at his wedding, and it was wonderful to have the range of generations on hand.

The Emotional Reality of Officiating. There were several times where I almost broke down in the midst of the service. Of course, I was not the only one. I had to read the passage from I Corinthians that Sam’s grandfather was supposed to read, because he was too filled with tears to do it. So I wrapped my arm around him and read in his place. Preaching the sermon was very difficult. A couple of times Jonathan teared up as well, which made it even more challenging. But, ultimately, I made it through, as did everyone else, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

Great-Grandfather’s Stole. When hands are joined after the vows and the giving and receiving of rings, the priest wraps a stole around them. This is the “tying of the knot.” The stole I used on this occasion belonged to Jonathan’s great-grandfather on his maternal grandmother’s side. His great-grandfather was a German Reformed pastor, which has largely evolved into UCC, and it was meaningful not only to Jonathan, but obviously to his mother’s family, that this family connection and bond continues.

Two Families Coming Together. Obviously, this is the nature of marriage, where “two become one flesh,” but I am speaking of more than just Jonathan and Sam. I had only once met Sam’s father about five years ago, and I had never met any of her other family. After the rehearsal at Sam’s mother’s home, Friday evening provided a brief, but powerful, time of connection. It became clear that we were coming together as a new family, and it was a wonderful realization. In a world where the family is becoming more and more fractured, it was great to be a part of an addition.

Joy and Celebration. This was the first event since my divorce where all of the family was coming together. It was not without some nervousness of how everyone would act or respond that I ventured into this occasion. I was pleased that the joy and celebration of this event overwhelmingly washed away any of the hard feelings, hurt, or discord (at least temporarily). It was a wonderful celebration that seemed to come to a close too quickly, as we had to restore the church to its original form because of Sunday’s worship.

While not a reflection of the wedding, per se, I am grateful that I get to share this event with you all, even just in this reflection. Thank you for your prayers and your love. 

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