Recently I officiated at a wedding for a wonderful couple. Weddings give me a very insecure feeling because there are a lot of unspoken expectations at a wedding. Everything has to be just right. One of the things that has to be just right, as I perceive it, is what the minister says. You do not want to be "preachy" yet you want to share Gospel - oh and you only have a few minutes. It is nerve racking.
Here something like what I said at this last wedding.
On behalf of everyone hear, I want to thank you for allowing us to be with you tonight. It is a true honor, joy and privilege. Not just because you are exchanging vows. Not just because you are giving rings. Not just because there will be great family pictures. Not just because we are celebrating the two of you and the union of two wonderful families. Not just because we recognize God in the middle of all of this. Not just because there will be cake afterwards. It is a honor, joy and privilege to be here because ALL of that is happening.
Sometimes we say this is a special moment. Some people say it is once in a lifetime. Some might venture to say it is beautiful or romantic. For us Christians we say this moment is holy. Hold on to this moment because there seems to be fewer and fewer moments like this.
The text we just read a moment of was from Song of Solomon or Song of Songs. If you read the entire book you get the very strong feeling that there is a sense of urgency and anticipation between the beloved and the beloved-ed. They are anticipating a future yet to be. They are excited for the winter to be over and they are anticipating being united. They are planning and hoping and dreaming and imagining what the future will hold for them once they "get started" on their life together.
I could not help but think as I read this text, in all their anticipation and urgency for the future, how many holy moments did they miss out on? How many times did they experience life and see it as commonplace, ordinary or, heaven forbid, even boring? How many holy moments did they miss out on?
It is my prayer that you do not miss out on your chances for holy moments. To be honest with you that is one of the joys of marriage. There is someone in your life who can help point out the holy moments. They can look at flowers and say, those are not just flowers in the garden but these flowers will adorn your jacket on our wedding day. You have a great gift in one another, you have another set of eyes for the holy.
It is our prayer that you do not miss out on holy moments. Do not miss out on this moment.
I share this because I did not prepare to talk about this at all. I had in my mind another sermon entirely and was prepared to share those words. I practiced them in the car ride to the church. I even wrote up notes. Not a word of it made it to the "preaching moment". This was something which was right in the moment. I honestly felt there was something moving in the room that night. Call it what you will (I use the label of Holy Spirit), but I cannot explain why I can prepare for one thing then in the moment come out with something else.
It was a great wedding. It really was a joy and an honor.
And to be honest with you, I have tried to see more holy moments these past two days. And at the very least not think of anything as commonplace or, heaven forbid, boring.