20 November 2005

Marriage?

I'm on the team that plans, prepares and then puts on our worship services at my church each week. Sometimes it feels like circus of fools running around (my apologies to all my friends on the team reading this) chasing after our own shadows. But then there are the days when I know that God is working here. I know that most Sunday mornings because we always show up with only about two thirds of a service, so I'm quite sure that He provides the other third. But today something very special happened. Today we had a wedding. But it was more than that. Let me tell you the story.

The story began back in August and yet it also began two and a half years ago, and then it also began thirty years ago. Here's what I mean. In August we (the team) had to begin thinking about what we might prepare for a fall series. It began to be apparent that we should think about working our way through the Sermon on the Mount (that teaching that is recounted in the gospel of Matthew chapters 5 through 7). And at the same time, a young couple in our church made the decision to get married and then they did in a very short amount of time (like 6 weeks).

On the first week of our series this young couple was not present to hear where we would begin because they were in the bride's hometown ... getting married. The second week of this series they were again not present because they were ... on their honeymoon. So they did not hear about our focus on how Jesus talked about living in the kingdom meaning being a life lived without manipulating others, a life lived entirely depending on God for His sustenance in relationships.

Today we finished our look at the kingdom by focusing on this couple and their wedding because Jesus often talked about his relationship to his church using the metaphor of bride and groom. And for some reason it seemed to fit. At the end of the service we asked this couple to recount their courtship and renew their vows for us. It was a beautiful picture of God moving among us to hear how they had committed to being friends for a year before dating, despite the (now) husband's intense romantic interest in the woman. As they told their story, the words, "living without manipulation," came to mind. They learned, in the crucible of their early relationship to live in the Kingdom and completely unwittingly presented to us a pure example of what that life looks like.

God is so good sometimes it just takes my breath away.

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