Parts of this were pasted on Facebook yesterday, but I’m still reflecting on it today.
Yesterday was one of the most bizarre wedding blessing I’ve ever had: in a colleagues church and led by a smashing Pentecostal Pastor, Barry. As my colleague was away she asked me to supervise and keep an eye on proceedings.
What my colleague didn’t know was that they’d invited almost 400 people into a building which holds 150. We got them all in to the church and hall ensuring aisles and escape routes were kept clear.
The couple concerned had already been married in a civil ceremony elsewhere and this was to be a blessing of the marriage, but coming from the Pentecostal tradition they wanted to treat it like a marriage ceremony without the legalities, so we had a full blown affair of a bride, a groom, bridesmaids, pageboys, best men etc. We had wonderful
coloured hats and creations, magnificent African designs, a white floor carpet with the names of the couple on it, 3 video operators, a choir and a soloist !!!!
Due to start st 12.00 the brides entrance after the 8 bridesmaids, 6 pageboys and 6 best men began at 12.34
Whooping and hollering whenever anything significant happened such as the entrance of each bridesmaid, the reading from Corinthians and the close of Communion.
The Pastor who led the service, Barry, was a lovely man and took it all in his stride, but the guests didn’t acknowledge in any way the hard graft that the steward and his wife put into meeting their every need and demand; the couple concerned never said thank you or anything and indeed one of the bridesmaids only spoke to me as if I was the bouncer telling me “don’t let any more in through this door !”
Having had that whinge I recognise it was a special occasion for the couple, their family and their friends, but at the end of the day they were just using the Church as a building conveniently situated half way between all the travelling guests (London, Gloucester, Scotland and Guiana).
And to top it all the £12.50 I’d put in the collection plate to encourage the guests was increased (out of 400 people) by the magnificent sum of £15 making £27.50 ……… and when we turned round even that had been nicked !!!!! (That may not have been the wedding guests but maybe an opportunist from the street.)
All in all one for the memoirs.
So what am I to take from it all ? None of these folk will ever come back to that Church, and as the couple (and presumably others) already belong to the Christian faith in their various areas, then it could be argued that there was no benefit to the local Chapel whatsoever; that would be true but Scripture reminds us that we don’t do things for our benefit but for His glory. I truly believe that God was glorified in the noise, chaos, and the nature of the worship; these were people who wanted to come before God in His house and give their marriage to Him.
Secondly, we modelled true Christian hospitality and generosity to ‘strangers’ as the Bible urges us to do.
Maybe God is teaching us all a lesson in this, firstly to glorify Him and secondly to honour His people that He created by showing graciousness and hospitality.