just over 48 hours after the Royal Wedding, I had the privilege of attending another wedding, live, here in Chicago. It was loosely a family wedding, the brother of my brother-in-law.
With Jon being a pastor and in college ministry before that, I cannot even begin to count the number of weddings I have attended. Most weddings share the basic components and are similar in nature. This particular wedding would have appeared quite ‘standard’ at a glance of the program … the welcome, the giving of the bride, the message, rings, vows, pronouncement, etc.
However, what made this wedding different from any other wedding I have attended in the past is how gospel centered it was. I confess that I actually took notes into my iphone from the message. Whether it’s that I am hearing with new ears, or that God just used these words on this day to minister powerfully to me.
The processional was to the hymn, “Thine is the Glory”, bolted out majestically by a professional brass ensemble.
The message began with, ended with and focussed on GRACE. The pastor defined grace as: the unexpected and wildly undeserved favor of God when we least expect it and need it most. What a beautiful definition and picture. The passages were Genesis 2:18-24 and Ephesians 5:22-33. He talked of marriage as an orchestra re-enacting God’s grace. Marriage shows two people who are weak and needy, yet strong and vibrant because of and through the work on the cross. Beautiful. As I understand the gospel more fully, how I am accepted in Jesus, the grace God has shown me, I’m more compelled to show that same grace and acceptance to my spouse.
Then, the groom wrote a hymn which was sung by the guests.
Holy Father we come before you; we offer you our praise.
At your throne, take us and renew us, this is our anthem raised.
You are might strong to triump! We are free from Satan’s hold.
In our weakness You find us, revive us, make us bold!
Holy Father we come before You we offer up our praise.
At Your throne, take us and renew us, this is our anthem raised.
Precious Jesus I give my all to You. Your mercy rescued me.
Take my heart, make me whole, and help me to surrender all my being.
Born to suffer, born to save me, born a child and yet a king!
I will love you forever and lift my voice to sing:
“Halelujah Oh what a Savior, His beauty rests on me!”
Full of grace, Jesus life my weary eyes and give me victory!
As we run may You go before us, stay near to us we pray.
Hold our hands, guide our feet and keep us strong along the narrow way.
Giv’n to stray Lord, hold us closer.
Giv’n to stray Lord, we resign to Your blessings unending and boundless love divine!
Lead us on through these worldly races Lord, keep us in the stride.
In Your strength we will show our paces, Your emblem be our guide!
I was truly blessed to be there.