02 February 2011

Weddings -Golden Opportunities

What golden opportunities indeed! No other gathering apart from family-get-togethers and funerals, bring family together, especially in our culture. The thing about weddings, that makes them more golden than funerals or get-togethers, perhaps even combined, is that all of your family in attendance are at your disposal. You reserve the right to conduct your wedding however you wish and your family will attend because they care about you.

But do we really realize this?

A couple of months ago, a friend asked me to watch a small clip. It was entitled, "letter from hell". It seems it is/was quite popular. It's about two young men who were close friends, one a Christian, the other not. For some reason the one never shared his faith with the other. The young man who wasn't a Christian died and went to hell. The clip has the young man in hell narrating a letter he had written to his Christian friend who was still on earth.

First he describes the place, then he describes the people he's with. He also describes the pain and the evil spirits there. As the narration progresses its intensity builds gradually, the young man gets more and more emotional after having started out rather collected. And then he finally breaks out as though he had been holding himself back. He asks his Christian friend in a frenzied voice, "Why? Why didn't you warn me? My best guess is that you were not aware of such a place. Who would know of such a place and not warn those he felt were heading there?"

I know of several people who I have not warned about the wrath to come, people who I was not forthright with, people who I will probably never see again, who, as of the last time we were together, were headed down a highway to eternal damnation. This causes me to want to be diligent in sharing the gospel with whoever I rub shoulders. But ofcourse, 'wanting' doesn't avail much. It is not enough to 'want'.

Probably the group we are most guilty of ignoring is our own family. How many of our family have heard the gospel? What percentage of our family have we tried to share the gospel with?

And that is what make weddings golden opportunities. Opportunities that must be capitalized on, first, indirectly but also directly. Indirectly in the way that we carry out our weddings.

Theres been alot of debate about weddings at my church, is this right and is that wrong, etc. Many things are not easy to just put in a box but Paul handles this in that timeless quotation, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial." There are alot of things that are permissible at weddings, but the question shouldn't be, would it be alright to do this but rather, would this be beneficial.

Would this thing or that thing send a Christian message to my family, friends and acquaintances that will attend my wedding? Will they walk away struck by how different my wedding was? Or will they see the very things that they see in the majority of weddings around? The wedding is such a great opportunity! An opportunity to send a message saying, "I am different, I seek to glorify God even if it means forfeiting things I really wanted and it is not I but Christ that liveth in me!" Oh for weddings that minister to the wretched hearts of those who attend, especially our families merely by the elements they contain (or do not contain!), weddings that send them away wondering, what they lack that you have!

The second way, we must capitalize on weddings is directly. How can you have such a large gathering of family, friends and even associates/acquaintances and not have the gospel message preached?! What an opportunity! Many of those in attendance, you will never get to invite to a church where the truth is preached, how can you pass on an opportunity to bring the church service to them! When I mentioned this to my mother, she immediately mentioned that in her day, gospel messages were common features at weddings. Christians getting married would indeed organize a preacher to give an evangelistic message at their reception.

Maybe I'm just a young man speaking from without. Maybe in the midst of all the excitement or hustle and bustle of wedding preparations I will forget to or even reject the idea of having the gospel preached at my own wedding. Maybe I just don't understand the ins and outs of weddings. Maybe I'm being too idealistic or hyper spiritual. But then again, maybe I'm not. Maybe I'm onto something. Maybe the greatest love you can show your family is to warn them of the wrath of God that awaits them and the love of God that draws them. What more convenient way is there, than at your wedding?