Was honored to lead a wedding/worship celebration yesterday afternoon and attend the reception afterward.
This morning I’m thinking idealistically about church in that context.
We gathered in our finest attire, in my opinion, to honor and show respect for the couple and God. Because this was a real service of worship of God. And there was a real sense of joyous anticipation by the wedding party as I went to them and prayed with each group beforehand. Among the gathered family and friends there was a hopefulness and anticipation as they awaited the start. Then the procession began. As I reflect on this, it seems so appropriate for there to be a procession to signal the start of the worship. All gathered in our best to worship the King of Kings as He unites the couple in holy matrimony.
The image of the bride dressed in white being escorted by her loving father to her groom was not lost to me as I took it in standing next to the groom, a dear friend. Someday we will see that image lived out as we the Church, in our robes of righteousness, the Bride of Christ, meet the risen Jesus. But, I digress.
As we sang songs of worship, we sang songs of praise, the service was rich with Scripture and testimony and blessing. People brought gifts to help with the new family’s needs as they begin their life in their new home. There were smiles and hugs all around. There was the proclaiming of the Gospel.
I have only one message in my wedding sermon/homily/challenge: seek God as individuals and as a couple EVERY DAY. You can’t do it alone, God can, so connect together in him. Oh, it gets fine tuned for the couple but that’s pretty much it.
Afterward, we went to the home of the bride where a banquet had been laid and tables set up so that friends could gather and talk, catch up, encourage and bless one another. Then there was dancing and toasts and shouts of joy and fun.
So this morning as I reflect on this, as I think of weekly gatherings for church by members of and observers of the Church, I wonder: why isn’t the weekly gathering we attend a little more like what some of us experienced yesterday.
I reflect on these words of Jesus:
“Go and tell your friends”
“Go and make disciples”
Our gatherings should have such joy, many do not, why?
Why can’t our weekly gathering include this kind of community and fellowship?
Oh, I’m aware that we cannot sustain that level of activity every week. Especially if you attend a church that is as big as a civic center (and as impersonal where the preacher-teacher doesn’t know your name, let alone anything about you). But somehow a disciple making model of church which includes the sheer joy I experienced yesterday must be possible.
What would that look like? Wouldn’t that deepen the Church? Wouldn’t more people know God more deeply? Wouldn’t they be better equipped to “hold fast to God”?
Written and posted riding in a car, please forgive the grammar, spelling and lack of clarity, I just HAD to get this out of my system.
To God be the glory as He builds his church.