Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weddings

In the past month I have had four couples either call me or come to speak to me about their upcoming marriages, and whether or not I'd do them. Of these three couples, only one individual was a member of either congregation of which I am a pastor. All these couples were living together without the benefit of marriage. My first question to each (on the phone with the three completely non-member couples)was, "Why do you want to get married in this church?"

There were interesting answers given. One couple's first answer was, "Well, we really don't want to get married in the church, but as you are the pastor of the church in Embarrass and since you are the closest pastor to the park in Embarrass where we are getting married, we thought we'd offer the job to your first." I let them ask a couple questions about what I'd do at such a wedding and what I'd require. They said they needed to talk about it. I haven't heard from them.

Another couple stated, "Well we've got our hall picked out, and so we've been driving around and looking at little country churches, and your's is the cutest one we've found." When they learned that one of the requirements the congregation has set as policy is that one of them would have to be a member, and go through a class to become a member, they decided against it. They did state, "You know, your church makes it pretty difficult to get married there?"

With a little proding, the other two couples which came in to meet with me all eventually came up with the answer I was hoping to receive when I asked the initial question, both stated, "We want God's blessings on our marriage."

I mention these four couples because all four of them have chosen not to be married in our church nor by me. They wanted God's blessings on their marriage, but they didn't think that regularly attending the services in God's house to receive His blessings in Word and Sacrament, nor repentance for their sinfulness, were necessary requirements for God's blessings on their marriage.

One couple did come right out and say, "But don't you think that everybody deserves a church wedding?"

If a church is just a building and nothing more, then maybe I could respond yes.

If however, as I believe, a church is the place where God comes to us with His gifts, and our presence there is a public confession of what we believe, then maybe everybody doesn't deserve a church wedding. If people want to dictate to God the conditions of His gift-giving, and if they believe something other than what God commands to be confessed in His walls, then maybe all do not deserve a church wedding.

Of course, as I've so often been told, that's just my own opinion/interpretation.

Peace of the Lord be with you.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Interesting - What about "where two or more of you are gathered, there I am"? What if the gathered are in a movie theater, or a house? Is that structure a church for that hour or so and then reverts back to what it was? Once it has been a church, does it remain one?