Sherry and I put our best clothes on for Bruce and Cody’s wedding. It was at First Presbyterian Church, an exquisitely beautiful building that was way less attractive than the wedding itself. The theme of the wedding was "as in heaven, so also on earth." Cody is a chaplain at OHSU, working with some of the most difficult situations and marking them for Christ. God was at work in their relationship for eight years, preparing them both for the wonderful work He has for them. Tom Miller got to pronounce them husband wife since he’s the pastor at the church. I was "associate presiding minister" I suppose, and got to do their vows and to encourage them to enjoy their first kiss as husband and wife.
Among the six [yes, you heard me right, six] speakers, was Father Jim Kolb, a Roman Catholic priest who does a lot of work at the hospital. I’d met him when I preached Cody’s ordination a couple of years ago. Partaking of communion was one aspect of the hour and a half ceremony. I was rather surprised that Father Jim was serving, since it was not a Roman Catholic mass. I asked him at dinner following. It seems he didn’t know he was supposed to serve until a few minutes before the ceremony. There was no good way for him to decline. So being a fine fellow, he held the bread for people to take. I was pleased when he told me the miracle of Communion is in the LORD, so he could do his part. But he said nothing since any words over the element would have been sacrilege.
Seeing the different views of communion was quite dramatic. I happily looked people in the eye, saying "The body of Christ given for you." People received it joyfully or reverently or in some cases with a bit of confusion with my words. From Father Jim they heard nothing. For me it was Eucharist. For him it was a place for polite submission, serving bread in a foreign service.
Having six speakers including one fifth neurosurgical resident who earned a PhD in classics before beginning his medical training, speaking on the significance of taking a name along with the magnificent organ, an ensemble, trumpet, violin, a dozen attendants each for bride and groom, and pealing bells as the pronouncement was proclaimed made it the most elaborate and beautiful wedding I’ve ever been a part of. The only one close was about 15 years ago which was even more memorable because among the five pastors, I was listed as special friend of the bride and groom. There are many memories.
I love doing weddings. I get the best seat in the house, though I rarely sit. I get to see all the emotions of the couple (and provoke a few of them, too). I’m so looking forward to what we practicing for: the wedding supper of the Lamb. I can hardly wait!