Hallmark Doesn’t Make Cards for That

Yesterday I searched and searched for a card, but could not find one suitable for this morning’s wedding—the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever attended.

The bride was glowing, wearing a tee-shirt and wrapped in a beach towel. The groom wore a matching shirt and complementary towel. The wedding party wore swim trunks.

It was a baptism-wedding.

Of the over 300 weddings that our senior pastor has performed, this one was his only baptism-wedding. It’s certainly the only baptism-wedding I’ve seen, but I dearly hope that it isn’t the last!

This couple earnestly desired to declare their love for one another—but not before declaring their commitment to Christ. The bride’s vision for her special day was a testimony to the power of the Spirit in her life: she wanted to be baptised along with her soon-to-be husband and then married as they emerged from the water.

We had no precedent for such a wedding, but why not? It makes sense, doesn’t it? In a Christian marriage, faith in Christ is the foundation for faithfulness to each other, after all.

It was an unassuming and Christ-centered event, true to our church’s mission of, “Simple, Authentic, Jesus.” Before moving to Iowa, I might have been shocked by events like this, even though I would have had no biblical reason to be. Now, I love that our church is willing to do such sweet and somewhat strange things out of obedience to Christ and love for one another.

Such were my reflections as I looked through countless greeting cards. There were wedding cards and baptism cards, but none of them could capture the unique beauty of this occasion. Adding to this beauty, members of the wedding party were also baptised, and a family was united by marriage and by faith.

Hallmark just doesn’t make cards for baptism-weddings. Even if they did, they could never capture the radiant joy of this morning—a joy that transfigured beach towels into the finest wedding clothes and made a baptismal font out of a stock trough.

It turns out that this is a good summary of ministry life: “They don’t make cards for that.” In just over a year of pastoral ministry, we have encountered so many wonderful (and, to the world, weird) occurrences that could never be captured by a greeting card.

Truly, God’s ways are not our ways, and for this we are very thankful.

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