Thursday, August 28, 2008

your not so typical wedding

last saturday kristian and i went to one of the most beautiful weddings we've ever attended.

some of you may remember several months ago when we went up to have dinner with a group of christians who live communally in harlem. they are incredibly lovely people.

they are part of a larger church that's been around since the early 1900's and they all live communally in different places all over the world, sharing everything they have.

they pool all their money, they share all their meals. every job taken by a member is used to benefit the whole group. it's a very real picture of what we see in Acts 4:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

they love the community around them and you can tell how much the neighbors love them.
maybe i'll write more later about some other really cool things in this community.

but back to the wedding... two friends around our age, Ria and Norman, decided to get married just over a month ago. we got an email last week saying they were going to have the ceremony out on their street (that saturday!) in front of their home so all the neighbors could attend, and they invited us up as well.

the greatest thing about this celebration was the simplicity and the sense of community.
there was nothing individualistic about it.

they said their vows sitting on metal folding chairs under an arch of sunflowers, and the mic was passed around to their parents sitting on either side of them who offered their prayers and words of wisdom in a very simple and beautifully non-eloquent way. Ria's dad was even wearing an obama '08 baseball hat.

but i can only imagine how glorified God was by the simplicity and the humility. it was completely humble. there was total focus on Christ and his sacred union.

it is interesting how our culture (me included!) buys into all the things a wedding is "supposed" to be. and, yes, it's fun. and often very glorifing to God. but i was struck by how much this particular wedding was not about them, but about God. truly about God.

there was still a wedding "feast", which we see in scripture. there were folding tables on the street with huge platters of meets and cheese and bread and veggies and big sheet cakes. and ALL were invited... from the very poor in the neighborhood, to the very rich (us).
even people who happened to just be passing by on the sidewalk were invited to join in! this seems so foreign in the culture of guests lists and head counts and invitations!

i am thankful for the beauty weddings today take on and the fun and celebration they provide, and i am also thankful for the lessons a ceremony like this can teach me.