My son was recently married and I was reflecting on how weddings and churches are similar. Granted there are many differences, too. But I was struck by how just many similarities there were.
To start, both churches and weddings bring together families of different origins. In doing so, there are different customs, traditions, beliefs, and personalities to navigate. There is a richness that can come from bringing together families. Likewise, any time you bring people together to work towards a common purpose, there also will become conflict. The various people have different perspectives and experiences on how things should/could be done and a range of values that form those perspectives. Consequently, there will be hurt feelings, but it is how people are treated (with love and respect) in the conflict that really matters. In the life of the church, there are Holy moments that stir your emotions sometimes in unexpected ways. Likewise, throughout the planning and the wedding festivities, there are moments when you are unexpectedly overcome by the whole range of emotions.
Next, we sometimes get so caught up in “doing” church and “doing” the wedding that we become distracted from the real purpose. We get so caught up in the details of the presentation that we lose focus on what is really important. We are sometimes so busy tending to all the details of pulling off the church service or the wedding, that we don’t have the time, energy, or perspective to pay attention to the guest. And when we do finally do look around the room, there are far fewer people in attendance than we expected, invited, and/or prepared for and may be disappointed or perhaps even angry. Maybe we are even sad for who is missing that has already gone home to be with the Lord.
Ultimately both weddings and the church are about relationships. Multi-layered relationships! And, we know that relationships are complicated especially when you are bringing different families together. But, if you really peel back the layers of both, each is about the relationship of two people. In church, it is about the relationship of the disciple and Jesus Christ growing deeper in their relationship with one another. In a wedding, it is about the couple growing deeper in their relationship with one another. It is about a deep, abiding, and faithful love!
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.
This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
John 13:34-35 MSG