Two kings presided of the festivities this weekend--the father of the bride and the father of the groom. Never have I been invited to enter into joy as I was this weekend. The “rehearsal dinner” jammed 60-plus people into a small space filled with wine, food, and merriment. The groom’s father recounted the goodness of God. Laughter echoed in my sleep hours later. The wedding itself was a banquet: in the sacred space of a rented church, we found our places at banqueting tables instead of pews, sharing wine and cheese while we waited on other guests to arrive and the wedding party to assemble.
A Coldplay anthem grew louder as the bridesmaids entered, and when the bride turned the corner, escorted by her farther, the room erupted in shouts and cheering. People sprang to their feet, the groom fist-pumped the air, and all heaven came close. The glory of God was upheld. The vows were holy and solemn. Prayers were prayed, blessings spoken, and the spirit of prophecy proclaimed that a new outpost of God’s Kingdom had been established in the earth. The man of God, drawing on his authority as a minister of the gospel, announced that two had become one. The bride was kissed. There was food and drink. Later there was dancing and celebration which lasted as long as you chose.
This wedding was an outpost of the Kingdom. Most Christians don’t know how to throw a good party. They don’t know what to celebrate and are suspicious of unbridled, hilarious joy. Richard Foster, a master of spiritual discipline, knows better:
"Celebration is central to all the spiritual Disciplines. Without a joyful spirit of festivity the Disciplines become dull, death-breathing tools in the hands of modern day Pharisees . . . Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Often I am inclined to think that joy is the motor, the thing that keeps everything else going. Without joyous celebration to infuse the other Disciplines, we will sooner or later abandon them. Joy produces energy. Joy makes us strong."This weekend my wife and I entered into the joy of our Master. I wish the same for you.