Weddings are beautiful pauses in life. Matrimonial ceremonies and celebrations drop reminders of an unveiled future where all is well. On these occasions, we lean toward soft whispers, smile at starry eyes, and join in generous laughter. I have been a guest at three such weddings the past few months. The sun smiled with favor upon each of the three weddings. Each bride had spent time planning the details of the ceremony, décor, and food. Some things were anticipated; other things were not. Despite all the planning, the three brides unconsciously produced a theme that lingered in the mind of one of their guests.
One was a June Bride. On the evening of her wedding rehearsal, a Midwestern rain and windstorm moved into the area toppling trees and power lines; thus, ending the rehearsal in the semi-darkness of a very warm church. The late evening activities fared no better for the out-of-town guests who were lodging in homes and motels. The stifling, dark night made it difficult to shower and sleep. The next morning didn’t offer any additional relief as the wedding party and family tried to dress with limited accommodations. Somehow they managed to get the wedding underway despite the lack of air conditioners and food concerns. These concerns were momentarily forgotten as the ceremony took on a surreal atmosphere. During the wedding ceremony, the stained-glass windows strangely transformed the bridal party’s clothing to shining, colors that only black lights can produce. Though a storm had brought much havoc, it did not diminish the beauty of the wedding. Only the beauty of love can rise bravely above the wings of a storm.
I smile when I think of my friend, Sherilyn. Her wedding day finally arrived on a warm August day. She had waited many years for this moment. Although she had kissed her twenties’ decade good-by, she now was dressed in her bridal attire at the age of thirty- two. Joy of this day produced songs within and became a significant part of her wedding day. Guests and the wedding party alike joined in unison in a time of praise and worship to the Him who made this day possible. The joy and worship on this wedding day accentuated the lovely details of color and décor in the ceremony and reception. It struck me that age did not diminish the possibility for marriage; rather, age brought worship into perspective. They called their guests to worship the Father God who merged their hearts as one in His time.
A few weeks ago I was yet at another wedding. This young woman had once upon a time been an elementary student of mine, but on this day she was now a young lady walking down the aisle on her father’s arm as a bride. Was there ever a happier bride? Her countenance was aglow with a glory that can only be bestowed upon one that is loved lavishly. She was a woman at peace and a woman of grace. Nothing had defiled the halo of radiance on her wedding day. The beauty of radiance cannot be produced by facial lifts and make-up. Radiance comes from within. The warmth of its glow is flamed from a heart that lives in purity and submission to the One who forever holds her heart.
Three brides. Three stories. Three themes. First, we all need beauty reminders in a world that is hurt and broken. Storms come, but the sun shines through stained-glass windows and show us who we truly are meant to be and not as we are. Secondly, we face uncertainties in life that call us to live by faith what is not yet a reality. We bring our worship because we know that the God who created our hearts also calls them into oneness of His grace and goodness. Finally, radiance is not self-induced. Our trust in God and our submission to those over us, will unveil the radiance of His glory. These weddings reminded me that someday it will be all beauty, all worship, and all glory. No wonder weddings inspire hope!