Old Fashioned

It Is More Than Enough To Do Some Things Only Once

It was not my best day ever when I phoned Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan. Ruby, Ed’s wife, answered the phone because Ed was out at the farm. Talking to Ruby, I realized that she had been married to Ed so long she is thinking and talking just like him. It isn’t her fault she is a victim of her circumstance.

When Ruby heard that I would be conducting a wedding ceremony this weekend, she wondered if it was for a young couple hopelessly in love with each other. She was disappointed to learn that the couple is middle-aged and each has been married before. It sure sounded like something Ed would say when Ruby said, “I hope they know what they are doing, one marriage is more than enough for most of us.”

Ruby was surprised to hear that conducting a wedding is a tense time for me as a pastor. Of course, Ruby said that I shouldn’t be tense as I wasn’t getting married. I tried to explain that brides always arrive so anxious they are ready to snap, and grooms are always very nearly comatose, wedding guests are too often willing to party at the sacred church ceremony, and maids of honor and best men regularly faint before the knot is tied. Blessed little flower girls and little boy ring bearers often stall in shyness or throw a tantrum with shouts of, “No, or I won’t, and you can’t make me.”

Ruby said that weddings quit being fun when they stopped allowing people to throw confetti all over the bride and groom and the church. It turned out to be harder to end a phone conversation with Ruby than it is with Ed, but I did manage with a feeling of exhaustion.

By the time a wedding day is over, it seems everyone involved is exhausted. Many weddings require days, weeks months and even a year or more of planning. Weddings in the time of Jesus also included serious planning for wedding guests to be able to celebrate the marriage fully. Now as then, there is a huge concern that everything is joyous and mistake-free for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Jesus and his disciples were attending a Wedding at Cana when the hosts ran out of wine for the marriage guests.

The mother of Jesus asked Jesus to help the family hosting the wedding in their dilemma. In response to his mother’s request, Jesus turned the water in six stone water jars, each holding twenty to thirty gallons of water into excellent wine. There was plenty of wine for the celebration, and it saved the hosts of the wedding from embarrassment. It also showed his disciples Jesus’ power to perform miracles. Turning water into wine was the first miracle Jesus performed before his disciples.

Marriages will not be mistake-free and always continuously joyous. Brides and grooms turn out to be both better and worse than could be imagined. Wise are those couples that know the miracle of the forgiveness of Jesus for themselves and others. They can say, “I am sorry, I was wrong.”  They can be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave each of them.

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Raymond Maher
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