Yesterday, I performed a wedding. It was a very beautiful ceremony. The setting was outdoors on a farm. I’ve done ceremonies in similar venues over the years, and I’m always happy if my hay fever doesn’t kick in until I’m on my way home.
As I was preparing to go, I happened to think about the term we use for what I do on those occasions. Guys like me are said to “perform the wedding.” That’s a bit of a stretch, I think. I certainly don’t think of myself as a performer (or much of a professional for that matter). I’ve been doing these things for thirty-seven years, but if you can read a script and finagle a license from the state, you can become a performer as well.
When I think of performing, I think in different terms. Professional musicians perform concerts. Surgeons perform operations. Scientists perform experiments. Performing a wedding ceremony seems to pale by comparison.
Even Jesus Thought Weddings Were Important
Still, wedding ceremonies are extremely important. Even Jesus seemed to think so. His earliest recorded miracle took place at a wedding reception. You probably remember the story.
Jesus, his Mom, and his disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana. Apparently, Jesus felt it was important enough to make an appearance. We’re not told what his relationship to the bride and/or groom happened to be, but in any case, he honored them with his presence.
Receptions in that culture could last a week or two (quite the party, I’m sure). In the case of the celebration in question, they ran out of wine. That could have been a big, embarrassing deal. It would have been a disastrous event had it not been for the fact that they had invited Jesus. Just as importantly, they had invited his Mom.
His Mom Forced His Hand
He wasn’t going to do anything about the fiasco until his Mom forced his hand (John 2:1-12). It makes interesting reading in case you don’t know the entire story. Jesus announced to his Mom that it wasn’t his time to do such things as yet. Mary must have been a typical mother in many ways. She took charge and Jesus “performed” his first miracle.
And there we are again. Messiahs perform miracles. Preachers perform ceremonies. I suppose it’s a performance of sorts. When I get asked to do a wedding, I often assume it’s because of my years of experience. Truthfully, however, on the few occasions I’ve asked the bride and groom why they chose me for their service, the answer has almost always been the same. “You look like you’re pretty laid back.” If they only knew…
I wish I could take credit for the good ceremonies and bask in the sunlight of my performances. I’m don’t think that would be appropriate, however. Even though I’ve always dreamed of performing, I’m not sure being a wedding officiant qualifies.
One more thing… The last line of the Cana story says they “stayed for a few days.” That must have been some mighty, fine wine.