It’s wedding season! Whenever I performed a wedding, I always conducted a wedding preparation course with the couple.
Nervously, they sat before me. After introductions, I would say, “Now, the first question is the most important question that I will ask you in these sessions.” Rapt attention greeted me. I began, “At your reception, will you be serving a cold plate or a hot plate?”
Confused looks were exchanged. I continued, “If it’s a cold plate then I have a 35-minute grace I say. If it is a hot plate, then I do only about one minute.”
For the first time in their lives, agreement flowed, “Oh, we’re having a hot plate!” I got more hot meals that way.
The job of the Minister is to perform the wedding and say grace at the dinner. At one dinner, I was seated at the back, by the kitchen. The microphone, through which I would offer grace, was way up at the front and the tables were so tightly packed that there was no way I’d be able to get there. I suggested we all become a mosh pit and transport me overhead to the front, but after looking at my girth, they talked me out of it.
I said the grace rather loudly and then reminded those in attendance about Scripture. When the waiters and waitresses were ready to serve the meal, they should remember that the last shall be first and the first last. I was at the last table. It didn’t work! The head table was served first.
Jesus loved going to weddings. His first miracle happened at a wedding. When I travelled through the Holy Land, we visited Canaan. There, we entered a church, whose altar was framed by six large water jugs, just like the ones Jesus used in his first miracle of turning water into wine.
For those now planning a wedding, you think you have a lot to prepare for! In Jesus’s time, weddings often took seven days, sometimes more. The groom would travel, in the evening, through the streets to his bride’s home. Guests would line the route with oil lamps. Remember the story of the women who ran out of oil? Also, that children’s hymn, “Give Me Oil in My Lamp” probably came out of this tradition.
The story of the wedding at Canaan holds a catastrophe. They’ve run out of wine. Panic filtered through the crowd. Jesus calls the servants to fill water jugs and miraculously wine comes out. Even the wine steward is gobsmacked. Everyone looked with amazement at Jesus.
In the July 17 edition of this newspaper, the story is told of another wedding that met with catastrophic endings. No, they didn’t run out of wine. Something even worse!
A week before the wedding, the bride and groom called off the wedding. Everything had been paid for: the church had been booked; the minister was ready for his hot plate; the reception was ready to go and there were 170 guests waiting, anxiously. What a disaster.
But, the couple looked to Jesus and went out and, instead, called in the homeless and the poor. Local businesses gave wedding clothes for them to wear. A feast was had. They had turned a disaster into a celebration, as did Jesus.
How can you turn a negative situation into a positive one? Remember what Jesus said, “When you’ve done it to the least of these my friends, you’ve done it unto me.” Look to Jesus and you will find new hope for any circumstance you encounter. God bless you all.