My wife and I attended an-out-of-town wedding. We know both the bride and the groom well, having walked with them towards this joyous day. They met while attending seminary.
The overall ceremony was typical of most Christian weddings, but with enough subtle variations to give it added spiritual significance. Without singing a song or listening to a sermon, it was like attending a church service – only better. And the best part was still to come.
We knew many people at the reception. With some, we maintained contact, to varying degrees, since we moved out of the area. For others, we unintentionally lost connection. But in all cases, our reunion was grand. We talked about family and work, with God at the center and sometimes as the focus. Faith filled our interactions. We praised God, both directly and indirectly. We testified of his work in our lives and through our lives. He has provided; he has shown us love; he has poured out blessing. We spent hours in deep, spiritual community. It was good.
We went to witness a wedding and as we did, the happy couple intentionally pointed us to God. Then we relished in the spontaneous spiritual community that erupted afterwards. As we celebrated their union, we celebrated God. What could be a better way for them to start their lives together?
Eventually we had to leave. We drove home, full from the meal and overflowing from the kinship we shared. My soul was satiated.
Today is Sunday and attending a church service is part of our plan. I have little interest in going; I feel no need. We enjoyed “church” last night and today’s effort will surely pale in contrast. Yes, it could be a spiritual experience; we may enjoy meaningful community; but I doubt it will be a celebration as we had last night.
Why can’t church be more like a wedding, celebrating God in the midst of real community? I think that’s how it should be; I think that’s what he wants.