Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Unexpected Ceremony

Hello Readers!

This past Sunday, at my "home church" Imago Dei, I dressed for an occasion I did not even anticipate. What's that, you say? Let me explain. . .

1. Before church:
As I was getting ready for church, I glanced outside and saw blue skies seasoned with the white puffy clouds that always seem to indicate a sunny-with-a-slight-breeze sort of day. In other words- a great day to wear a dress! The dress I chose was a very lovely (see below) navy and black vintage number that was gifted to me by a friend/co-worker. Little did I know that I would wear this dress to a wedding ceremony later that day! Hooray for versatile outfitting!!!

Spin Spin
Love the detailing!
2. During church (part one):
The church service, at first, went by quite normally. We sang a few songs, greeted each other, and then sat down for announcements. There was just one, "we will be wrapping up our series today and- oh, there will be a wedding." No explanation. What? There will be a wedding?

While listening to my pastor's sermon I also wondered what he meant by his announcement. Did he mean that we would need to rush out of the church for the wedding? Or would the wedding take place during the service? Or after the service? Or was this a metaphor?

3. During church (part two- after the sermon):
The sermon ended and my pastor revisited his announcement and welcomed the bride and groom to the front of the church. Both were dressed in what you might expect people to wear to church, but maybe not to a wedding- which was really neat! While it wasn't what I expected, it worked. The groom wore jeans and a white button-up and the bride wore a floral print dress punctuated by a woven leather belt.

4. The ceremony
The ceremony began with a time of storytelling. The couple took turns telling the story of their relationship- how it began, how it ended, and how a journey of reconciliation, love, and redemption brought them back together again. A beautiful story.

My favorite part of the ceremony, next to hearing their story, was the couple's description of marriage. Putting each other first and serving God with their love for each other. Isn't that wonderful? I've heard similar descriptions, but never in the same exact way. Did my eyes tear up a bit? Perhaps, but in the best way possible!

5. Leaving church (afterthoughts):
Walking out of church, I thought a lot about the modern wedding industry. As some of you may know, I conducted a study of this industry for one of my graduate courses. What I learned from the study is that there is a lot of unnecessary pressure on brides (and grooms) to fulfill complicated and sometimes contradictory expectations. These expectations, at times, bring the focus away from what a wedding is really about- the commitment and relationship of the bride and the groom.  It was refreshing to attend a wedding wherein this focus was so clear.

Congratulations Bride and Groom! I pray and hope for the very best on your shared journey of love, life, and service!

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