Have you ever been to a wedding celebration where a herd of cows photobombed the bride and groom? I have. What a hoot! I just returned from the Connecticut countryside, where one of my nieces got married Saturday. It was a beautiful occasion in so many ways; the cows in the background only added to the pageantry.
The cow photobomb aside, I cherish how everything revolved around the bride and groom. It was not only appropriate because every wedding celebration should be about the couple getting married. It was also appropriate because this couple, Megan and Andrew, revolve around others. They concern themselves with others’ well-being in genuine and wholesome ways, especially and appropriately one another. This bodes well for their marriage; as noted in the wedding homily, eros (involving physical attraction and passion) often draws a couple together, but philia—friendship (often translated brotherly love) that involves deep, abiding care for one another, keeps and cultivates marriages (Pastor Philip Hakanson).
The festivities called to mind John the Baptist’s words in John 3. He likened himself to the best man in a wedding. Rather than be disturbed that Jesus was garnishing more and more public attention that was previously focused on him, John rejoiced. As the friend of the bridegroom, his joy was complete. The same was true of the Heavenly Father. He delighted in bringing attention to his Son, like any good father would do for his son or daughter on their wedding day. The same was true of the parents and siblings and others gathered on Andrew and Megan’s special day. My own father did the same thing on our wedding day twenty-five years ago. He focused his attention on us, as he was known to do with others. Fortunately, he withheld saying publicly what he said humorously (I hope!) privately after Mariko and I were hitched: “Now, he’s her problem.”
I thank God for these young soul-mates who make the cares of others their problems. A society often devoted to narcissism where people crash others’ parties took a back seat to something more enduring last Saturday. Like an agrarian parable of the kingdom featuring birds of the air and livestock in the fields, the courtship and wedding festivities of these young newlyweds breathe life and hope into my soul that genuine, others-centered love abides. May such vibrant love win out, not only on wedding days featuring the newly married, but also in our various relationships all the days of our lives.