As I drove along the young woman rider lamented to her boyfriend (in expletive laden sentences) her disdain for the waste of resources, money and time just so a friend could satisfy her parents old fashioned expectation of having a wedding. “It’s just a big party with too many guests invited, who are all expecting a free meal, deserts and a lot of booze – Give me a break.” I ventured to inquire what she thought a wedding ceremony and celebration were historically all about? “Historically? I guess I never thought about it like that but, perhaps I’ll become aware of the meaning as life goes on,” she replied.
It seems very difficult to me at times to reach the millennial generation that is rocking the world today. They’re smart, full of ideas and seem to know that the world is theirs for the taking. They speak of social justice, equity for all the people and speak passionately about environmental responsibility…..as they eat, drink and make merry in excess. Then every once in a while I hear a value expressed for which they have no reasonable response and seem void of hope.
Venturing a little further, I asked if I could share a bit of the history of the wedding ceremony and the reason for all the invitees? To my delight and surprise both said they would like to hear it. They might have been a little uncomfortable when I said that marriage is not a concept of human origin; it was created by God. But perhaps I simply misread their silence. I continued by saying when a young woman leaves the security of her family, with all the things that make a home, the nurturing, the warmth, the food, laughter and love to establish a new home with a man she really doesn’t completely know yet, both of them are embarking on a new journey in life that is intended by God to be a marvelous experience for the two of them until only death shall separate them. And that’s hard to do on your own, I went on.
In Matthew 19:4-6 Jesus explained marriage saying, “And for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh……What therefore God has joined together. Let not man put asunder.” All those “party guests” were traditionally witnesses to the promises the wedding couple were making and their promise as witnesses is that they will help these two people keep their vows to one another as the years roll on. We like the proverb “It take a village to raise a child,” in every generation but in today’s society many of the affluent think the village consists of daycares, preschools, nannies, boarding schools etcetera, etcetera anything or any one except the actual village that is extended family, neighbors and good friends. These are the same witnesses that would attend the wedding and the reception.
Author: Rev. Tony Easterly