This weekend Lois and I flew to Texas for a wedding. I officiated and Lois photographed the whole beautiful affair. It was a Christ-honoring wedding held at a lovely country estate about an hour outside of Houston. We stayed in a huge house set back almost a mile from the road. I had some time on the porch to drink in the wonderful quietness before the flourish of wedding activity began.
The couple, Jorge and Alisa were young people we met on a missions trip to Mexico. Alisa is from Texas, Jorge is from Guadalajara, Mexico. It was a beautiful, outdoor wedding. I believe that Christ was honored in the ceremony. The reception was held on the property in a horse barn converted into a reception hall. The moon was near full. The days were clear and warm with sun. The nights were cool and fresh. The mornings were glorious. I drank in the quiet. The sky was wide to both horizons and with stunning views of sunset and sunrise. It was a bit of a reunion with many who deeply love the Lord.
Just outside the Red River Gorge, a few miles from where Lois was born in Kentucky, is a beautiful home built on a hillside. It was obviously the house of someone’s dreams. The house is girdled by a wide, covered porch. It is capped by a roof of green metal. When I drive by I always imagine myself on the porch in a rocker watching the sunrise burn the mist out of the valley. In my imagination I always have a steaming cup of coffee in hand and the smell of bacon hangs in the air.
But the house has never been finished. It’s never been occupied. I’m not sure why. Maybe the ones who dreamed of living there on that hillside together had a financial reversal or lost their job. Maybe someone died. Sadly in cases like this they say it’s often the marriage that died. A family is left with the broken pieces of their lives and an unfinished dream.
The place always reminds me that it takes more than a beautiful house to make a home.
Friday night as the sun set in the Texas countryside two families gathered together to rehearse for a wedding. I told them the story of the house. I reminded them that a wedding is important but a beautiful wedding does not guarantee a good marriage. A beautiful house does not mean there will ever really be a home there.
Only Christ the Redeemer can make a house into a home. Only the indwelling Spirit of holiness can cause two sinners to turn a wedding into a marriage.
Your wedding may not have been an affair spread out on a country estate, but if God smiles on it, it will last and be blessed. You may live in a very humble place, but if the Spirit dwells there with you and you are guided by his still small voice in your soul, you will experience the benediction of God.
This weekend after I finished performing the wedding I watched the reception through the lens of a camera. I cried through the father-daughter dance. It made me want to go home and be with my girls. I have to prepare myself for three of those dances. As the reception ended the the bouquet was thrown to the young maidens. The couple said their tearful goodbyes then the groom swept the bride up into his arms and put her in his car. Off they drove winding out the lane toward the road. A full moon shined down on them.
I held my bride close and kissed her and I remembered the autumn night three decades ago that I finally had her all to myself. I remembered the joy of driving away together for the first time as a married couple. I remembered our first meal together at the Bob Evans in Lima. I remembered the little apartment in the Ohio countryside where we started our lives together. Our simple wedding didn’t fill the church. Our reception was a humble thing in the basement of a humble church. But it was the beginning of thirty-two years of marriage, eight children and three decades of ministry.
I watched the taillights of the truck go out of sight and breathed out a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of Christian marriage. All glory to God.
October 17, 2011