Reflections for the inner life.
I've been back in our former home town of Chattanooga this weekend officiating the wedding of some dear friends, Austin and Kiersten Noonan. Such a sweet weekend on Signal Mountain, traveling up with my son Sam who has enjoyed spending time with his friends while I have attended to wedding stuff. I've never officiated a Sunday morning wedding but this morning was absolutely glorious. To walk with a young couple into what they sense God is preparing for them as a husband and wife is massively life giving. And to stand before their community to speak into an ordinary and very common service, one made extraordinary by God's loving presence among us. Austin and Kiersten shared their first communion as husband and wife right in our midst. Over breakfast a couple days before the wedding, Kiersten shared with me that to offer a woman a glass of wine in Jesus' culture was to invite her to become your bride. We hovered over this idea together, discussing how controversial it must have been for Jesus to invite his disciples to be his bride...grown men! What an invitation into vulnerability and risk. What an enduring image of being invited to be one with him. So this common cup and this common bread fed my dear friends and then we worshipped. Oh, how we worshipped. The band, As Issac, led us into a thin space near to the heart of God. Never have I had an actual bride sing so heavenly standing right there in front of me just a few feet away. And then back to this cup, and this bread...bread that in order to be made was a grain that had to be crushed...and a grape, that in order to become wine, had to be stomped. This image of brokenness is a brutal one. It was the place of extreme torture, humiliation, vulnerability, and nakedness...and it was and is our rescue from enslavement, bondage and shame. To take this common cup is to embrace an uncommon sacrifice, one that could only flow from the heart of a good Father. Standing as the officiant witnessing the flow of a wedding day is among my favorites, and I am grateful for a few minutes to reflect back some of the goodness I witnessed with my own eyes and ears.