Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Weddings?

For many years I thought Sundays were an ideal day for a wedding. It was sabbath. It is the day believers can be available. It certainly fits with a worshiping community like baptism and eucharist. It is an extension of worship. I would love to someday officate at a wedding that flows right out of a Sunday morning worship service.
Today worship was rich, poignant and painful. during the opening songs, one of our elder statesmen had a stroke. It meant getting him surrounded by helping folks, calling 911, informing the congregation of the intrustion of firemen into the sanctuary to get him to the hospital.
Worship got rich as we prayed and sang. I even felt a power in preaching from Ephesians 5:15-20: Wise Up: get wise, get worshiping, let your worshiping transform your life into grateful witnessing. The energy in the santuary was palpable and rich. Then, during the coffee time afterwards on the patio, the coming afternoon wedding began to assert itself, claiming more and more space, pushing out folks who were just talking to each other, blocking the driveway, and trying to push rules and regulations.
What was weird for me was the transformation of sacred space into a weddings-r-us rental hall. They were a nice couple who thought they rented the space to do with as they pleased, oblivious to a pre-existing worshiping community. It really confused the whole notion of sabbath rest. By allowing our space to be used that way, we in essence, require our members to "go to work" staffing the sound booth, kitchen and clean-up. By having other officiants move in, we relinquish what goes on and how it goes on. It is an event at Montecito Covenant Church, reflecting us to attending guests, without any pastors preaching and giving witness to who we are and who we worship.
When I officated at "outside" weddings in the past, for folks who had no relationship with the church, I looked at it as outreach and evangelism, though risky because I'm not sure how effective I was. But I was there, preaching, counseling, leading and guiding. I think I'll stay with and prefer weddings on Firdays or Saturdays, and keep Sunday for worship.


At 5:41 AM , Anonymous kent said...

Weddings for "family members", those who have a solid connection with the church, as opposed to those who swoop in for the event and then leave shortly there after, can held on Sunday because it is extention of the worship life. But rentals? Nope. As you pointed in an earlier post they normally perceive churches to be just a pretty place to get married, and have little clue about the nature of the place they are using. Which is exactly what they are doing, they are using, renting, hiring, nothing more. Sabbath is for more.

At 1:57 PM , Anonymous Garry said...

Ahhh....the idea of Sabbath rest. Why not shut down most church "activities" after worship for rest and family. We cram in meetings, events, youth group, rehearsals, and so many things. it is a wonder many parents are not completely exhausted from all the rest on Sunday just attending church events. Then again, maybe they are and we never noticed.

At 3:04 PM , Blogger Kate said...

As someone who recently got married on a Sunday here at our church - I was sure blessed by being able to use our wonderful space for a special kind of worship. We were really blessed by the church community - food was left for us in the bride's room and everything was just wonderful. I do think though that it's important to communicate to the couple using the church that this is a place of worship and tell them what is expected from them, especially if the wedding is on a Sunday.


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