Sometimes I refer to an experience as a ‘taste of God’s kingdom’. Love is expressed in a meaningful way. The Holy Presence is felt deeply. God’s amazing grace is made visible. It points to God and God’s coming reign over the world. But it’s only a “taste”, a “foretaste” of what’s to come.
Last weekend I discovered a “big gulp” of God’s kingdom, not just a “taste”. God’s kingdom was made real in ways I’d never seen before. Love was expressed. The Holy Presence was felt. God’s amazing grace was made dramatically visible.
It was my daughter’s wedding, but it was so much more. It was the Kingdom. It was God’s Community. It was the church as God intended.
The United Methodist motto is “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.” I saw that lived out last weekend. Everyone was valued and honored. Amidst a diverse group of God’s people, all were welcomed and included. Inclusivity plus diversity equals true community.
My daughter’s wedding day, last Sunday, was one of the three best days of my life. I am blessed far more than I’ll ever deserve.
The wedding week started for me on Wednesday. I flew into Baltimore early because our daughter Sarah and her partner Ali planned a two day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail as a prelude to their wedding. We were in their kitchen on Wednesday afternoon talking about wedding details.
I asked, “How will the pavilion in the park be set up?”
“We’re setting up 150 chairs in a circle under the pavilion roof,” Sarah explained.
“Where will the two of you be sitting - in the center?”
“We haven’t decided yet, have we Ali? But it’s possible we’ll just be sitting in random seats on opposite sides of the pavilion.”
I retorted, “You won’t be sitting together? Why would you do such a thing? The whole ceremony is about the two of you and your relationship with each other. You two should be in the center together.”
“Dad, you’ve got it all wrong. It’s not about us” Sarah said. “It’s about ‘the community’. It’s about everyone in the community having an equally valued place,” she explained passionately.
I just shook my head. This was not going to be your ordinary wedding!