Pandemic, Wildfires, and Holy Matrimony

I recently had the privilege of officiating two weddings. And what a treat it was! But because of our “pandemic” and wildfires, there were plenty of details that made these events, well…special.

First, in an effort to honor the godly couples, I must point out that they were herculean in patience and understanding. The restrictions that were placed upon them, as well as the ever-changing phases and modifications to those restrictions, made marriage planning difficult. But, these two couples persevered through it!

Next, I also want to praise the couples for their desire to hear the gospel preached at their wedding. And I don’t mean just some hat-tip reference when expounding upon predictable texts like Ephesians 5:25 or 1 Corinthians 13 where we find the popular “Love is” passage. We’re talking explicit gospel preaching!

Now, some of us might roll our eyes and think, “Duh! What else could you preach at a wedding?” Trust me. I have not been to (nor watched online) many weddings present the gospel in such an explicit fashion. But these couples picked me for that reason, and I pray that God was pleased to save through its delivery.

From just these two points above, we can derive two very vital lessons about faithfulness and perseverance in the midst of challenging times. But this doesn’t make us immune to the frustrations we experienced along the way. Decisions like:

  1. Having a “drive-by” wedding reception where guests pull up who weren’t technically allowed to get out of the car in order to greet the bride and groom.
  2. Limiting who can come to the wedding ceremony because of capacity restrictions indoors or outdoors.
  3. Canceling and changing the venues because locations were no longer open, or unwilling to make exceptions.
  4. Having to notify neighbors and city officials that a wedding was in progress so that, hopefully, we aren’t reported thinking it was a party (I mean, who doesn’t want to get arrested on their wedding for the glory of Christ?).
  5. Deciding on whether to change the wedding from outdoors to indoors at the last minute, because of the smoke from all the wildfires.

However, despite this incomplete list of decisions these couples faced to have the wedding “the Bride had always dreamed of,” there were some godly rays that broke through this cloudy trial.

  1. Money was saved. Despite not having what they perhaps first envisioned for their wedding, the couples benefited from not overly splurging, if you will.
  2. Both focused on what really mattered. The key thing both couples wanted to do was honor God, enjoy the things that God had already allowed them to have, not worry about what they can’t have, and just focus on who they are getting married to.
  3. This trial inevitably pushed the couples to further depend on Christ. They focused on what the essential foundation for their marriage was, and they desired to make that the central theme. And though this was always their intention, the limitations placed upon them only deepened that conviction.
  4. There was a more intimate setting and fellowship. The fact that the guest list was so limited, there was a sweeter fellowship and connection to those who were able to join us. This made the event a little more special in a good way. Even though, sadly, there were more that could’ve come.
  5. The body of Christ pulled together. I have to say this brought me the greatest encouragement. There were hesitations for some concerning the nature of this kind of gathering. But despite the difficulty of what we were dealing with, the creative thinking, volunteering, and self-sacrifice that came from this strengthened my assurance that there are always devoted and committed believers who were willing to do whatever it takes to make such a blessed and God-ordained event like this happen. Even at the peril of their own health and safety, regardless of a pandemic or thick haze from the wildfires. And I praise God for that!

And though I could say more, I only wanted to point out, in brief, some of the basic frustrations and joys that still came out of God-honoring weddings in the midst of the trying times we are living in. And if you are planning to get married soon, don’t let all the desires, wants, and details concerning what you could have, or would want to have, bog you down. Focus on honoring Christ, and stick to the details in your ceremony that matter from a gospel-centered perspective. Trust in God’s sovereignty to bless this special day you. The day in which you are vowing to be devoted and committed to the one you love, as long as you both shall live.

-Until we go home.

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