Weddings are expensive. They will cost you. I know this because my middle daughter, Kylee, the princess of the two beautiful female descendants of mine, is soon to be married. This means many things. The first, according to the goose (AKA Eric, my husband and father of the bride”, would say, and furthermore can’t wait to say to the groom on June 23rd, 2018 is, “She’s all yours!” Which, if you are reading this correctly can hear the sound effects of the ringing and dinging of a cash register, Cha- ching! Or as the sign on our kitchen wall reads, “Bank of Dad; where money grows on trees” will no longer hold true. From diapers to dance lessons, onesies to prom dresses, butterfly kisses to blown kisses through car windows, long and lingering snuggle-wrapped naps to quick teenage hugs, baby shoes to high heels, bumped heads and scraped knees to broken and shattered hearts, first day of school to first boyfriend, pre-school to college graduation and lullaby’s all the way to the wedding march, the dam of the “bank of dad’s” heart, will break loose in more ways than one.
On June 23rd, 2018, after signing off the last check to all the professional services hired to ensure a perfect day emulating an elegant/romantic theme, feeding 150 or so guests a plated dinner, under hundreds of aromatic blooms, Eric will wipe the sweat from his brow, change his perspired- drenched shirt, take deep breaths to calm his racing heart and somehow try and remind himself, his daughter, his birdie, the bride…with these four words:
She was worth it.
We have been planning this wedding for 18 long months, because for some weddings, a great deal of thought and preparation must go into them. The to-do list is never-ending, it takes ongoing communication with the many hired services, from pastor to DJ, florist to decorator, hair-stylist to make-up artist, chef to cake-baker, dresses and shoes, invitations and save the dates, honey-moons and plane tickets, marriage licences and passports, table-seating and wedding signs, songs and scripture….
you get my drift.
Weddings were never meant to be a small event. In fact, the very first wedding ever recorded in history, is found in the oldest book of history, the bible. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, recorded this spectacular event for us in John chapter 2. The only one of the four gospels to document it, Jesus entrusted John to report His first miracle, which just happened to be, of all places, at The wedding of Cana. Jesus performed many miracles, many healings, many deliverances, yet instead of the first recorded miracle being the casting out of a demon, or the healing of the lame or sick, Jesus chose something better, something far more significant. Something that would not only stir the sign-seekers, but carve a deeper message into hearts set apart and made ready to understand this simultaneously physically natural yet Holy metaphor. I believe he did so because he seemed to understand Jesus best. He not only understood the significance of a wedding being a well planned out event which caters to its very important guests, he recognized how the giving in marriage between a man and a wife is to be celebrated here on earth as a foreshadowing of the great wedding feast yet to come between Christ and His bride one glorious day in the future for every Christ follower.
and so we celebrate…and we celebrate well.
Probably the most intimate description of a wedding can be read in Song of Solomon, where here again, the finest of preparations are given a great undertaking. Expensive oils, spices, flowers, cedar, wine, food and aphrodisiacs, are all listed as part of the long-awaited ceremony and consummation. Song of Solomon describes the groom like a stag “leaping over the mountains and bounding over the hills” for his bride, peeking through windows and beckoning his bride to a new and blessed season in life filled with sweet love blessed and ever flourishing that they will build together. And the bride’s thoughts are so consumed of her groom that she dreams of him at night, “On my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves…I held him and would not let go… (Song of Solomon 3:1-3). She is fearful she will lose him and cannot find him.
She is utterly lovesick.
So in love are they, that when the day of the wedding feast finally comes, they are said to be inebriated with love, drunk with love and so invite their guests to share in the beloved intoxication of this two-souled union being woven into one.
“…Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” (Song of Solomon 5:1).
Ah, weddings…a glimpse of the dew of heaven resting upon us, shimmering off the rise of the sun, awakened to love at a depth of intensity and rising passion we cannot describe.
The tingle of exotic tastes, the stimulation of unknown senses coming to life in the physical union of flesh on flesh.
And if I made you blush….I didn’t intend to.
God doesn’t blush at sex. He created it as a sacred long-awaited pleasure between a man and his wife. A pleasure that never gets old…representing the intimacy, joy, purpose and love the two joined as one are called to emulate to a world too often filled with the tearing of this covenantal fabric. The marriage bed represents a deeper knowing of the other one in his/her most intimate places. And this, too, points to a deeper knowing of the bridegroom, Christ, as we are called to an intimacy and passion for Him that transcends that which is physical.
So what does all this mean in light of the celebratory scene of Cana settled into the Palestinian landscape of the small fishing village of Galilee? Jesus had just entered the scene. He had been baptized by John the baptist, been tempted by the devil for 40 days in the wilderness, called his disciples, and now is the invited protagonist, along with his mother and disciples, at the Wedding of Cana. The first thing we notice is that weddings are supposed to be celebrated. The bride and groom, from ancient of days, are to be surrounded by a large number of family and friends, young and old alike. They are to enjoy the effort and beauty, planning and serving that goes into the long awaited event. Guests typically bring gifts to help the new couple begin their new lives together and they do it with gladness of heart. Tears of joy are often shed during the ceremony. Imagine, something as common as a wedding, can still evoke deep emotion out of hidden wells in our hearts and find their way out in gentle rivers down our faces at the sight of the bride, or the sound of the vows, or the lyrics of a song.
We want this. We all want this.
We want lifelong joy and commitment, health and prosperity, blessing and laughter, tears and hope, tenderness and cherishing, a stick-to-it-ness and perseverance that a marriage requires.
We cry out of the knowing…that there will be sickness and health, there will be richer and poorer, yet we cry because we know we were created to endure, and those of us who have endured cry harder. Not out of pain, but out of sweet triumph that the other side brings. For those of us who have been together longer than when we were apart…
we know. We made it to the other side.
our hearts have told us something the couple before us knows not.
Not yet anyway. Yet our tears water their terrain so that their love may grow and mature…
And Jesus knows that this wedding is the celebration of a lifetime that will be tested, and refined through fire. The physical pointing to the spiritual. For just as a marriage is tried and tested, so is the heart of a committed believer who views the cross as both his heartbreak and his hope, his offense and his joy, and He knows the best is yet to come. At the cross death brought life, agony brought healing, darkness brought light, surrender brought forth mighty power.
And here we are at Cana where the ceremony is finished and the reception is ablaze with laughter and dancing, and the worst thing that can possibly happens, happens! The wine runs out! What will they do? The guests will leave and the party will be over unless Jesus does something! This will not look good on the wedding coordinator’s resume! Mary, (Jesus’ mother and quick thinker as mom’s usually are) takes the problem to Jesus. If us Christian moms know anything, we know Jesus is the answer! She says to her son, “They have no wine.” Though Mary, herself, had yet to experience her son’s divine authority and power, the angel’s words rang just as loudly in her ears at that moment as they did 30 years ago…”He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High…” (Luke 1:32). If Mary knew anything about the Most High, she knew He was the one who split the sea, raised the dead, rained manna from heaven and caused her to become pregnant as a virgin apart from any sexual contact. Surely, His Son could come up with a solution at her friend’s wedding.
And here they all were, waiting on Jesus…eyes locked and some loaded.
Mary quickly commands the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. And I believe by the sheer thickness of the authority of the Holy Spirit’s presence, they willingly obey. They bring six stone pots to Jesus. Each pot able to hold 20-30 gallons of water, and they fill them with water (a precious commodity), at Jesus’ command. Jesus then commands them to draw out the water and take it to the master of the feast.
“When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though his servants did), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This is the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory, and his disciples believed in Him” (John 2:9-12).
In modern day times, the equivalent cost of these six pots of the best wine is $90 million dollars. How did I come up with that number? It’s simple. Google tells me that the most expensive bottle of red wine out there is a 1992 bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet with a net worth of $500,000. Who would pay such a price?
It is time to bring this blog to a close and my reflections to be stored away, pondered, and maybe a sentence or two, here or there, whisper truth to you from time to time.
Jesus is for weddings. He is for celebrating them well. He is the best wine saved for last for those who stick around and look to him when they run empty. Your marriage is worth the best Jesus has to offer. The finest most expensive and extravagant cost Jesus paid. He paid it on the cross. He paid it for you and for your marriage. And for that great wedding feast yet to come! He is the bridegroom leaping over mountains and hills and peering through windows to catch a glimpse of His bride! The invitation to the the glorious wedding is open and He is preparing His bride. Will you come to Jesus?
“The spirit and the Bride say, “come.” And let the one who hears say,”Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” Revelation 22:17
And like any Good Father will say to his daughter bride,
She was worth it.