Friday, June 17, 2011

Best Wedding Ever

When it was all said and done, they said it was a “perfect day.” After a year of planning, all the pieces had come together for the best wedding ever. No, it wasn’t that silly little wedding somewhere in England, but my oldest daughter’s. It was everything the bride and groom had dreamed of. And we, as parents, were thrilled that her big day was as wonderful as it could be for her. Everyone knows that a lot goes into a wedding; but when it is your daughter’s, you get a front row seat into the complexity of a modern wedding. I came to learn quickly that there are two ways to plan: either you pay someone a lot of money to worry about the details for you, or you do it all yourself. We chose the latter.

Kari and Grant’s wedding was in a park. We had reserved one part of the park for the ceremony and another part for the reception. Family and close friends were invited to the ceremony, as this was a small intimate space; but everyone who had a place in our lives was invited to the reception. The wedding was a beautiful, worship-filled ceremony performed in a park pavilion on top of a hill surrounded by wild flowers. Being both dad and pastor, I had the dual privilege of walking my daughter down the aisle and officiating part of the service. As I listened to them read their vows, I felt a deep sense of pride and gratitude for the adults these kids had become. This was one of the most special moments of our lives as parents.

While the ceremony was small, reverent, and intimate, the reception turned out to be a big party. Friends from all avenues of life arrived to share in the joy of the day. We had a simple dessert reception with cake, treats, and beverages—all of which was gobbled up quickly as the crowd was bigger than expected. Grant’s family had offered to take care of the beverages for the evening, so when they began to run out, it was a quick trip to a nearby store to replenish the supply. The band we hired was simply amazing; they played for almost two hours while people danced, laughed, enjoyed each other’s company and the beauty of the park in summer. At the end of the day, we were filled with joy for our kids. We were filled with joy at how many great friends we had to spend this important day with. We were filled with joy that God’s smile was on us.

I’m not surprised that Jesus chose a wedding at which to perform his first miracle. As the father of a bride, I’m fully aware of all the bad things that can happen to ruin your daughter’s wedding day. In Jesus’ day, weddings had just as much social pressure as they do today. So, when something went wrong at a friend’s wedding, Jesus was called to respond. “No more wine!” was the report. This was a social disaster. It didn’t matter the reason, whether it was poor planning or a crowd bigger than expected, the party was crashing and the hosts would be embarrassed. So, Jesus quietly turned pots of ceremonial hand-washing water into wine. And, it was good wine—the best wine. By doing this, Jesus was saying two things: he was sending a signal to the religious establishment that those jars of ceremonial hand-washing water were better filled with wine. Second, Jesus was showing how he deeply cared for his friends.

Often when we think of miracles, we think of extraordinary issues of life like sickness and death. God does show himself in those big circumstances, but how cool is it to know that God is compassionate in the everyday aspects of life as well? He cares about friends, reputations, weddings, and wine. No matter your care or concern today, know that you can “cast your cares on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5.7).

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