I had the distinct priviledge and pleasure this past weekend of giving both my first and my second toast at a wedding.
This weekend marked my 23rd rented tuxedo, each and every one of them rented as part of my participation in the weddings of my friends or family. This weekend was special in so many ways, and it is hard to distill it down to a simple blog post. But of all the memories I’m sure I’ll take from this weekend, (vanilla whiskey, sleeping on the deck of the beach house, forgetting to turn off my ringer during the service, toasts 1 and 2) I pray that I will never forget this: my God was present at this wedding.
I’m not talking about some kinda of cheesy light from heaven (or the choir loft) beaming down on the couple as they said “I will” to each other in response to the vow they were asked to take. I’m certainly not talking about some guy with a beard dressed in a sheet sitting in the front row. And I’m by no means insinuating that a dove flew into the room and perched on the groom’s head or any symbolic nonsense like that.
He came to us in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. He was with us in the Word that was preached. It is a joy to have him present in this way on Sunday morning, and all the more so at a wedding.
Though these things are truly the Lord’s presence among us, there is still one more way that my God proclaimed himself a part of this wedding. The faith, the hope, and the joy of his children who had gathered together to worship their Father is perhaps the most delightful way the Spirit presented his presence to us.
And this is how it should be. We look to the couple as they look to the cross. We look at the bride as she looks at this man turn in her husband, just as he looks to the man who turned into his savior. We look at the groom who takes this woman as she is as he pledges to give her all that he is, just as she looks to Christ who has taken her as she is and given her all that he is. This is how it should be.
If you’ve never had the joy of having two of your friends meet each other, fall in love with each other, and then walk down the aisle together, I pray that this joy will soon come to you. It is an amazing gift, and a treasure that cannot be taken lightly.
And so, even though I have toasted them twice this weekend, I wish to toast them one last time. So, if you would permit me, please raise your glasses with me one last time.
To our God, who has been present and active in your lives since the dawn of all time; who has shaped and moulded you into his perfect and blameless children. To our God who has in his infinte wisdom brought you together for no other purpose than to glorify His holy name. To our God who has blessed the people in your life by pouring out His love on you that it may overflow into our lives. To our God who has brought you together that all who know you might witness firsthand His love for us, His church, His body, His bride. To this God who has sent His son to die for us that we might be washed clean and thereby acceptable in His presence, and who raised this same son from death to life that we might too be free from the grave. To this God alone may all glory and honor, praise and adoration be given for all eternity.
May our God, who has held you close to him, use your marriage as a gift to all people with whom he chooses to bring near enough to you to witness your life together. May He keep you steadfast in your faith to him and to each other that you will join together with the other saints in the home he is even now preparing for us. May he continue to shower you with blessings so overwhelming that no one could dare believe anything other than that the Lord our God has provided each and every one of those blessings to you to the glory of His holy name.
I love you both. I wish that I could go with you to see all of the beautiful things our Lord will do for his kingdom through you. I wish that I could be there to witness the impact your life together will have on the lives of the people he will draw near to you. I wish that this was not a time of “goodbye” and “until”. But if I know nothing else, I know this much. Our Lord will not let anything snatch you from his hand. He will keep you safe. He will guard your hearts and your minds. He will protect your marriage. He will keep you faithful to the end. My love for you is only a dim reflection of the burning light of his love. He will never leave you or forsake you. And when he comes in his glory to call us home, we will worship him at the feet of his throne.
I long for that day. I can’t wait to hear about all of the things has done for you and through you for his children.
So my friends, now, the toast: To Alex and Samo, may the Lord of all creation shower your lives with the love he has poured out on you and all his people, so when that day comes, you have great stories to share with us about the glory of our King.