My mom and I had lunch Saturday, as she was in town for a Mary Kay conference at the St. Louis Convention Center. I took her to Tigin, an Irish pub Megan and I had discovered as part of a mystery shop date a few months ago – cool place. I can't remember the last time I had a meal with my mom that didn't include Dad, Megan, or any combination of children, so we had a novel time catching up.
The conversation went a variety of directions, but one topic that came up was all the debt America is accruing and the impact of that on multiple generations. I've never known Mom to get upset by too many things political, but she had obviously spent some time thinking about the consequences for her children and grandchildren. She was concerned, she said, and spoke of how, the older she gets, the more realistic she's trying to be in adding to – rather than spending – our inheritance.
Thanking her for her thoughtfulness and honesty, I shared a little of my perspective (semi-transcribed versions here
if you're interested) on the mess the government is making of the financial sector, as well as a little about the moral dilemmas (here
, and here
just to link a few) that will impact our nation's future in ways as significant as any financial crisis. The conversation could have turned into a real bummer had not we ended up agreeing there's really little hope for things apart from the grace of God. Simply put, it was a good and meaningful time.
Finishing lunch and dropping Mom off at the Convention Center for the rest of her conference, I made my way to Clayton for a wedding. My friend and teaching colleague, Abby Doriani, was due to get married at 2:00, but I underestimated the hassle the I-64 repair shutdown from Kingshighway to Hanley would be and realized I was going to be late. I finally made it to Clayton, found a parking place, and ran up to the church
, figuring I missed Abby's procession, but would at least make it for the remainder of the ceremony and reception.
As I opened the front door to sneak in, I almost ran over Abby's dad, Dr. Dan Doriani
, who was leading Abby and the bridesmaids up the stairs into the foyer before proceeding into the sanctuary. As I had Dr. Doriani for several classes at Covenant
, I smiled and shook his hand, trying to be mindful of the fact that he probably had a lot on his mind and now might not be the best time for small talk. I waved to Abby, who looked beautiful in her wedding gown, and then I headed up the stairs to the sanctuary to find a seat.
At the top of the stairs, I saw Abby's mother, Debbie, and gave her a hug. Far from being a dreaded mother-of-the-bride, Debbie was all smiles, asked how I was, thanked me for coming to the wedding, and reassured me there were plenty of seats left, but I would have to go in after Abby and her dad did as the seating of grandparents had already started. She gave me a quick wave, then took her place at the door to the sanctuary and was escorted in by one of the ushers, followed by Abby's first two bridesmaids.
This left Abby, her dad, her two younger sisters (each of whom was a matron/maid of honor), and me standing in the foyer. Abby noticed me trying to blend into the wall so as not to intrude on the family moment, but as it obviously wasn't working, she humorously asked how I was enjoying my behind-the-scenes experience of her wedding. I laughed and said I was just taking notes. Her sisters each gave her a kiss and went in, and then it was Abby's turn to walk arm-in-arm with her dad through the doors to get married.
More than most, the wedding ceremony was a very warm reminder of how the God-given institution of marriage is (and is to be) a reflection of Christ's relationship with his bride, the Church. In his charge to the couple, Dr. Doriani spoke of the differences between romantic and divine love, but stressed the need for both in marriage. Vows were taken, the community affirmed them, and everyone rejoiced in the fact that two were becoming one before their very eyes. It was a beautiful thing, and afterward, we all went downstairs for cake and punch (another beautiful thing).
For me, the afternoon was an insightful one: in light of the good but sobering discussion with Mom at lunch, I needed the reassurance of Christ's relationship with his Church that a marriage ceremony can provide; despite the pressures of the day, I saw parents who didn't make their daughter's marriage all about them (or even about her), but about Christ's relationship with his Church; and, strangely for the first time, I imagined my own daughters getting married – each with her three sisters as bridesmaids – and prayed that their weddings would reflect Christ's relationship with his Church as well…even if there's little money to pay for them…or even less morality left in our culture to care.
This morning at church
, we sang the following verse:
"We expect a bright tomorrow, all will be well
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all is well
On our Father's love relying, Jesus every need supplying
Yes, in living or in dying, all must be well"
Because of Christ's relationship with his Church, all must be well…both in the now and the not yet. I needed that reminder, and I'm grateful to God for it this Lord's Day.