Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Preparation for the Wedding

Suddenly, we are right smack back into the wedding season again! Weekends are spent running through a succession of bride and grooms' homes, church weddings and wedding dinners. And if you are part of the wedding preparation committee, weekdays are filled with flurries of emails from various parties, planning and delegating responsibility for the work to be done for the wedding and dashing about after work, to do the actual preparation.

It certainly takes a village to get people married off.

A basic wedding checklist would include:
  • informing relatives and friends of the engagement;
  • arranging for the families to meet (if they haven't already) and navigating any opposition to the wedding (if any);
  • choosing a wedding date;
  • setting the budget for the wedding and deciding who will pay for the wedding;
  • deciding if there will be a church wedding and a reception after or just a wedding dinner or both;
  • finding and booking of the church wedding, reception and wedding dinner venues;
  • deciding on the guest list (with loads of negotiation with the parents. Much more if there are more than one set of parents per person.);
  • finding out how to acquire a local marriage licence;
  • deciding on and booking the officiant and the person who will give the sermon;
  • deciding on and informing the bridesmaid(s), bestmen, flower girls and pageboys;
  • deciding on and booking the wedding studio, the onsite photographer, the bridal gown and suit, the wedding theme, flower theme, the florist, the driver, the caterers, the wine, the emcee, the wedding helpers, the clothes for the bridesmaids, bestmen, flowergirls and pageboys, the music, the musicians, the wedding cake and wedding gifts;
  • designing and sending out the wedding invitations;
  • chasing invited guests for responses thereafter; and
  • co-ordinating all these aspects and all the various people involved to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the appointed wedding day. Of course, all plans could be ruined if bad weather is encountered on the actual day.
(Naturally, this does not include the work to be done for things after the wedding ceremony like selecting, booking, financing, renovating and moving into the matrimonial house, agreeing on parental visitations and couple time, learning to tolerate and get used to each other's toothbrushing or nocturnal habits etc.)

"Och aye!", groaned a hairy tartan kilt-wearing Devonian as we held 2 cold pints to our temples after a particularly trying Highlandic wedding of a mutual friend, complete with clashing bagpipe-players and disobedient sheep,"when it's me turn, arh'll elope with me lass and save me me mates!"

The only people willing to be roped in for the painful task of preparing for a wedding are usually one's closer circle of understanding friends. Even then, we'd witnessed far too many long-term friendships irreparably ruptured under the strain of the run-up to the event.
The Heavenly Wedding
The Bible uses the wedding metaphor to describe the listeners/readers of the message as guests who are invited to the wedding feast (the kingdom of God) (Matthew 22; Revelation 19:9) and the church as the bride whose wedding feast it is (Revelation 19:6-7).

What will the bride look like? She will be well prepared. She will be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure (Revelation 19:8). She will be clean and beautiful - without any spot, wrinkle or blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Sometimes, it seems as if we are more concerned and stressed out with preparing for our earthly weddings than our final universal heavenly one. If we as the church the bride of the Lamb, waiting for the wedding day, what are we to do? How shall we prepare for it? How can we get clean and beautiful and where do we get our nice clothes?

Heavenly Wedding Date
Unfortunately, unlike our earthly weddings, there is no firm heavenly wedding date. The day of the LORD will come suddenly and unexpectedly like a thief in the night. Then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed (2 Peter 3:10).

Since all these things are to be dissolved and our works exposed, then we ought to live lives of holiness and godliness (2 Peter 3:11). We must be diligent, so when the wedding day comes upon us suddenly, we will be found waiting, without spot or blemish (2 Peter 3:14). Not mouldy, rat-bitten and decomposing like Miss Havisham.

Getting Clean and Beautiful
How are we to get clean and beautiful? Certainly, scrubbing our skin off with lye and a loofah won't do it. In fact, there's actually nothing we can do to get clean and beautiful. We need Jesus to give himself up for us, cleaning us by the washing of water with the word, so that he might sanctify us (Ephesians 5:25-26). We need (1) Jesus' substitutionary death for us on the cross to pay for the rightful judgement for our sins and (2) we need him to give us the gospel, the good news, of this opportunity for cleansing by trusting in him.

Getting the Bridal Gown
Thus cleansed, where do we get the bridal gown? The bridal gown of fine linen, bright and pure, is the righteous acts of the saints. After being cleansed by her groom, the church doesn't just stand around like a model (a wholly plastic model, that is) waiting to be dressed by him as well. She has to get ready to take her place beside the groom, clothing herself with the outworkings of her obedience to God.

This is not to say that we earn our salvation/our place beside the groom by our own good works, for Revelation 19:8 tells us that these good deeds are granted/given to us. It is purely by God's favour that we have been saved through faith. And this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. But having being saved, we realise that we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Getting the Wedding Helpers
If it takes a village to prepare for our wedding in this life, how many more people will it take to help with our preparations for our heavenly wedding? Yet, we are less urgent, less stressed about seeking help for this latter wedding. We skive off weekly reminders of God's word in sermons and bible studies, we put off gathering a close group of friends together for prayer and accountability.

Although we go frantic when the bride's nice white lace-and-satin bridal gown gets wet in a freak weather change or muddied in the photoshoot or stained by errant makeup, we can scarcely be bothered about even clothing the Bride for eternity.

In fact, we are barely be excited about this eschatological wedding. We might not even be giving out the invitation cards, much less urging the wedding guests to come to the banquet.

But as long as the wedding date isn't today, we still have time to get busy! It will be, after all, the most important day of all our lives.

PS: You can read what God says from the Bible and talk to him directly in prayer. Therefore, iGod is quite unnecessary. ;-)

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At March 02, 2006 11:47 am , Anonymous Wedding guest said...

This reminds me of this song:
I Write Sins, Not Tragedies
Oh, well imagine,
As I'm pacing the pews in a church corridor,
And I can't help but to hear,
No, I can't help but to hear an exchanging of words,

What a beautiful wedding,
What a beautiful wedding,
Says a bridesmaid to a waiter,
Oh yes, but what a shame,
What a shame the poor groom's bride is a whore,

I chime in with a,
"Haven't you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?"
No, it's much better to face these kinds of things,
With a sense of poise and rationality.

I chime in,
"Haven't you people ever heard of, closing the goddamn door?"
No, it's much better to face these kinds of things,
With a sense of,

Well in fact,
Well I'll look at it this way,
I mean technically our marriage is saved,
Well this calls for a toast so pour the champagne,

Oh, Well in fact,
Well I'll look at it this way,
I mean technically our marriage is saved,
Well this calls for a toast so pour the champagne, pour the champagne.

At March 06, 2006 11:08 pm , Blogger daddymark said...

Here is a wedding idea to consider: custom stamps for your announcements and special mailings.

Instead of using ordinary stamps from the Post Office on those special mailings, you can use stamps that were not only designed for your purpose but customizable with your words and dates as well. There is a special feature to add anything you like to the stamp itself. Since its launch, these stamps have been very popular for invitations. Yes, these are official US postage stamps!

You can find my growing Zazzle.com gallery of designs at http://tinyurl.com/7w5qy. The URL I condensed to make it easier to work with.

Presently I have more than 100+ different stamp designs and more than half can be easily customized. You are welcome to read my customizing ideas on my homepage.

All the best.


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