Last Saturday there was a wedding at our church. I realise that a wedding in a church on a Saturday afternoon is not particularly unusual, but I’d like to think that this one was different, even exceptional. The couple who got married are friends of ours, and we did what we could to help them to prepare for their big day. We weren’t the only ones. Many people from our church pulled together to help make this special day extra-special for the newly weds, and for their visiting friends and family members.
To be honest I was amazed by how well it went. There were people that had been asked to help, and many more who had not been asked to do anything, but did plenty. The church was set up and decorated ready for the day. And on the day musicians played, ushers ushed, and our youth minister did an excellent job of leading. At the end of the service as most guests exited onto the church forecourt for the photographer (also a church member) to take photographs, some remained behind to reposition the chairs around tables, and to decorate the tables ready for the wedding meal. While a local butcher provided and served the hog roast main course, many folk from the church (and other guests) contributed a range of homemade desserts. When it was all over and most guests had gone, a good number of church members remained behind to clean the church and set out the chairs for Sunday morning, and to clear away in the kitchen. Six hours after it had all begun no one would have known that there had been a wedding and a wedding meal in church last Saturday.
What blessed me (apart from seeing good friends getting wed) was the way that church worked together to make the wedding happen. Family and friends of the bride and groom who were visiting for the wedding noticed. Most could not believe the transformation that took place inside the church building while the photographs were being taken outside. For me the day was a glimpse of how the church should function and the witness it makes when it does. Most people who rolled up their sleeves last Saturday would be unaware of the impression they made on folk who might only visit churches for christenings, weddings and funerals.
As followers of Jesus who gave His life for us our lives have a purpose that other lives do not. Our lives began through the sacrificial death of Jesus, because without His death there could be no promise of a wedding between the resurrected Jesus and His bride – the church. Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day. Last Saturday in Hereford there were two beautiful brides. Alison who married Chris, and a church that demonstrated the love of God through the way that it worked to make the day a day to remember for Alison and Chris. I will never forget the beauty I saw in our church last Saturday because it was the beauty of Christ expressed through our lives. And it was stunning.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honour to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear. For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. (Revelation 19:7-9 NLT)