Last Thursday, I was teaching a Bible study, my Soul Sisters group, and we were discussing the Abrahamic covenant. In this particular promise, God tells Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the grains of sand on the shore and the stars in the sky. The process through which God enters into this covenant with Abraham has to do with dividing animals as an offering; then waiting for God to pass between the pieces that evening and make the commitment with Abraham. I have always believed that this is the antecedent that gave us the format we use for our wedding ceremonies today.
The pieces of the animals represent the groom’s family and the bride’s family. The bride, who is the one technically changing families from a biblical perspective, passes down the aisle between those in attendance and enters into the covenant of marriage with the groom, who is waiting, as Abraham was, at the end of the aisle for the ceremony to begin. There were other ways that covenants were entered into, such as the exchanging of sandals at the city gate, that were also accepted ways of solidifying promises.
Anyway, it has been some time since I performed a wedding ceremony but several hours after my lesson on Thursday morning, I received a call from a couple that was in desperate need of someone to help them get married. It seems that the officiant they had engaged decided that he wasn’t going to do the ceremony the next day – he professed that there had been a death in the family and he wouldn’t be attending their wedding. Now, in my opinion, God centered pastors I know would never email somebody to let them know they weren’t showing up. At best, they would do the ceremony and at least they would phone and find an alternative for the couple in need. Neither of those things happened in this case. I felt sorry for the couple who had so looked forward to their special day.
So… I was able to rearrange several appointments, spending a good part of Thursday afternoon speaking with them and learning about their background so I could write a custom ceremony for them – that’s just the way I roll… I was able to confirm their license, learn that Ron’s grandfather was a Baptist pastor and also find out that they were a Christian couple who are very devout in their faith.
The wedding at 1:00 p.m. on Friday
was to be a small affair – family only – to be held at a venue on the far south side of the Indianapolis area – about an hour from where we live. To cut to the chase, it was a wonderful event. Those small weddings seem to be that way – in my opinion, much more meaningful than the large weddings that are so commonplace today.
During the ceremony, I always have the best view in the house and this was no exception. It was a glorious day with a perfect temperature and very little wind. No microphone even needed – and I have to admit that I had forgotten how much I loved doing this kind of outdoor wedding. Before the vows, I always read verses from the Scripture and this time, I chose the 139th Psalm. Admittedly, it isn’t one that you hear of often but it so seemed to fit Ron and Julie.
The psalmist communes with God, acknowledging God as the Creator who knows him better than anyone. Furthermore, God is always present in the psalmist’s life. This leads the writer to implore God to search him, and fix anything that that hinders him from being the best that he can be as he enters into another phase of his life. That tends to be my prayer for the couples I am asked to marry.
I always pray that God will work in their hearts and make them the best version of themselves that they can be. Our verse for tonight highlights the end of the 139th Psalm. The psalmist, after having given God all the glory, implores God, in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
My encouragement this evening is that God always wants us to be the best that we can be. This is especially important as we embark on new seasons of our lives. Marriage, the birth of children, a new job and so many other events are great times to ask God to search us, quiet our anxious thoughts and help make us be the best that we can be as we take on new responsibilities in our lives. My prayer is that we will all remember to invite God into the biggest events of our lives and seek His counsel as we endeavor to honor Him as we grow more like His son. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…