BY LUKE HEIM
CHRISTIAN CHURCH PASTOR
November 24, 2008 “Wedding 101”
As a Pastor, we hold to the sacredness of marriage. It is one of our founding principles, which is why we do premarital and even post marital counseling. But then there are times when your principles are met with real-life situations. There are times things aren’t as black and white as you would like. It’s then, that you do a lot of praying!
Enter Pastor Charlene. After working only just a year at a church in Colorado as the Youth minister, my senior minister was diagnosed with a rare disease that was affecting her vocal cords. Up until the week of a wedding, she figured she could perform it. Then I got the call. There was no way she was going to be able to do the wedding, and I was the only other paid staff who could step up & help. This was my second wedding, so I felt semi-confident that I could pull it off. But there was a catch. The husband didn’t know he was getting married. You heard me. It was going to be a secret wedding. You see, the couple had been living with each other for close to 20 years, and they both had been talking about marriage, been excited about it, and wanted Charlene to perform the wedding. They believed in God, allowed Him to be the center of their marriage, and felt ready to make this commitment in God’s house. Now I’ll be honest. I had difficulty with this, but Pastor Charlene was someone I deeply respected, admired, and knew the Holy Spirit was active in her decision process. And when I questioned her on this, she said, “Luke, sometimes God allows us to share the gospel in the strangest of circumstances.” She truly believed God sent this couple to her. She truly believed that if we just have one shot at bringing God into the lives of people, we’d better take it.
I told Charlene I’d pray about it. As much as I squirmed at the thought of a secret wedding, God kept coming back and saying to me, “Trust Me.” Two days later, I was standing dressed in my suit next to a bride dressed in her gown awaiting a husband who was tricked into going to the grocery store. Like a surprise birthday party, we all waited with the lights off, until we heard him coming up the stairs. As he walked down the aisle with jeans and an undershirt on, he said, “Babe, what is this?” His wife said, “Honey, we’re getting married today!” He was so excited. With tears streaming down his face, he spent the next 45 minutes visiting with all the family that had come from hours away. They gave him a suit and tie, and about the time we were ready to start, the power in town went out. The next thing we know, we’re finishing the service under candlelight.
We serve a mysterious God. As much as I would like to say I would never do that again, I’ve learned from that situation to pray continually, as I Thessalonians 5:17 says, to pray in the Spirit at all times as Ephesians 6:18 says, because you never know where God will lead you to share the gospel.
As Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 9:22, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”