The Stamp of Approval

26 03 2011

IMG_0285 The last few years I've made it a point whenever I go to a marriarge ceremony to listen closely to the vows that are being exchanged. After all, I figure if/when I ever get married, I kinda want to have a better understanding of what I'm getting myself into. But each time I attend a wedding, there's always a different part of the nuptials that grabs my attention, and today was no different.

Today I was able to witness the marriage of my friend Traci to her man Nathan. It was a beautiful wedding, and so unique to their style and personality, which I loved. It took place in a Lutheran church, so there were lots of responsive readings, and one of the responses that caught my attention came in the very beginning of the ceremony. It said this:

"Pastor: Families, friends, and all those gathered here with Traci and Nathan, will you support and care for them, sustain and pray for them in times of trouble, give thanks with them in times of joy, honor the bonds of their covenant, and affirm the love of God reflected in their life together?

Congregation: We will."

Although most weddings I've been to don't have interaction from the audience, I thought this was an interesting charge to us as guests. It made me think about how not only is marriage a commitment between two people, but it's also a time for family and friends to come together and collectively give their stamp of approval to the union.

As much as we all love to be independent, I think there's something to be said for family and friends who will stand in agreement that they will support your marriage. I also think it does little good to leave these people out of a decision to marry someone, especially since they are the ones who know you best. I can recall times in my life when I was head over heels on someone, and my parents? They weren't feeling it and neither were my friends. They ended up being right and sometimes I think to myself, what if I had ignored their advice and got married without their stamp of approval? Let's just say my life would probably be a whooole lot different than it is now…

As an attender and friend of Traci, the reading made me think about my role as a supporter called to "honor the bonds of their covenant and affirm the love of God reflected in their life together." While I have no intentions of being in Nathan and Traci's business, I did feel an extreme sense of joy today that I could say that responsive reading with sincerity, affirming along with everyone else that this union is a good thing, and that it's beautiful in God's eyes.

What was also great about today was that I got to see some of the other girls from my old small group. These lovely ladies have taught me so much about what it means to "do life together." Through all the ups and downs I love these girls and I miss them so much!

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