Encouragement From The Word

From a baptism to a wedding

You know you’re getting old as a pastor when you start marrying off people that you baptized.  That’s happening for me this weekend, as I conduct the wedding service for my cousin and her fiancé.  (She’s old enough to remember her baptism, so I guess I’m not that old.)  But it underlines for me how rites of passage are often tied together.

When I baptized Lisa (and her brother and sister), I reminded them, and their parents, of the promises of God, and of God’s claim on their lives as they were presented for baptism.  When Lisa and Erik stand before God and a gathered throng on Saturday, I will remind them of the promises of God, and of God’s desire to be integral to their life together as they are united in marriage.

The God who called Lisa to faith is the same God who will be present at her wedding.

I am thrilled that, among the Scriptures she and Erik have chosen to be part of the service, is a passage from Colossians 3 that includes this:  “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful” (Colossians 3.12-15, NLT).

I’m thrilled with this choice of text not only because it contains good advice for people getting married (even though it was written for a church community); it also contains two marvellous truths about God:  God chose you and the Lord forgave you.

When followers of Jesus can remember those truths, and apply them in life (as Paul sought to do with the Colossians) and in marriage, the world is indeed a better place.

One of the “God” billboards that can be seen on highways, especially in the United States, says “Loved the wedding.  Invite me to the marriage. – God”.  That’ll be my hope for Lisa and Erik, that they’ll invite the one who chose them, and forgave them, into their marriage.

May that be true for yours, too!  And if you’re not married, let it be your prayer for those you know who are.