Susan and I went to a wedding last week. We had a really wonderful time. The wedding/reception was held in this winery in Brooklyn. The atmosphere was amazing, the decor had a comforting, intimate feel and the food was delicious. The toasts from the bride’s sister and her father were hilarious (they could be a comic team) and we had fun dancing the night away with many of our family members. It was really great. But something was missing. It is more common than ever for weddings to be held at the same place as the reception. Financially and accommodation wise it makes a lot of sense not to have to drive from one place to another. But this means that fewer and fewer weddings are held in a church. (I am speaking strictly from a Protestant and un-churched view…I am not sure about the regulations of the Catholic Church). As weddings have moved out of the sanctuary and into the forest, fields, woods and wineries (we have been at all those locations for ceremonies) there has also been a shift away from the inclusion of God. It was stark at the wedding we just went to. And this is not the first time. There is not a priest or pastor or any member of the clergy. A friend or some other authorized person does the ceremony. There is talk of love and friendship and the beauty of marriage. There are vows recited and rings given and other symbolic gestures. There is music and everything you might expect to see in a wedding ceremony. But no God. Not a mention or acknowledgement of Him. He is missing. He is absent. I was so aware of it that I kept looking, hoping, praying that God would somehow be a part of this God ordained institution. At one point I was hoping somebody would sneeze so I could at least say “God bless you.” But nothing.
I am glad for this couple. They are both doctors and very nice people and hopefully they will have much happiness and joy together. They sure seem like they do now and I pray for it to continue all the years of their lives. But I also pray that God will be a more realized and intimate part of their marriage just as much as He was absent from their ceremony. As we like to say, “The wedding is just one day, marriage is a lifetime.” So I pray that although God was absent from their ceremony (at least in a verbal, consciously acknowledged sense) that He will become the foundation and center of their lives and the fountain from which their love will spring forth.
It makes me sad to think that people are excluding God rather than centering their marriage on Him. But I see it happening more and more and it really brings me sorrow. And it is not just in wedding ceremonies. Over and over again we see the absence of God. It is a slow drift, a subtle shift. We can condemn and judge but perhaps it would be better if we wept and prayed. And let the the Lord’s light shine through us so that others would want what we have.
The next time you have the sense that something just seems to be missing…maybe it is. Maybe it is the Lord.
What do you think? How does it make you feel?