Sunday, December 28, 2008

Father of the Bride

Yesterday my daughter Rebekah was married to Gabriel Frusti. It was foggy and rainy outside, but it was beautiful indoors. I had the privilege of both walking my daughter down the aisle and then performing the marriage rite. What a challenging and emotional thing it was! I had tears in my eyes during the procession and a lump in my throat throughout the ceremony, but my voice only broke when pronouncing them to be husband and wife. Thankfully I had the assistance of Gabe's two uncles, the Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann and the Rev. Matthew Richardt, both of whom did a good job in preaching and assisting in Vespers. That certainly helped take a load off of my shoulders so that I could more fully enjoy the occasion of God joining my firstborn to her new husband. It was a great experience to have the congregation singing the hymns and liturgy in strong voice as we prayed for the bride and groom and rejoiced in God's gift of marriage and the forgiveness of Christ.

There's one thing that struck me at the end of the ceremony. It's nothing profound. In fact, it's sort of obvious, but it left me feeling just a little bit like Steve Martin at the end of the movie Father of the Bride. Of all the people in the procession, I was the only one who didn't get to walk out with the one I walked in with. All of the groomsmen were arm in arm with the same bridesmaids they entered with, but after processing in with my daughter I had to walk out with the other pastors. I was surprised at how lonely that felt. You go through all these preparations for weeks and months in advance to make sure everything goes properly, and then it's all over and your daughter is a wife and she's on her way to the beginning of a new life. And you don't quite know what to do next once that's all happened. It was a strange feeling--not really sad, just unexpected.

Of course, the next thing to do yesterday was simply to enjoy the reception and celebrate with friends and family and toast the occasion and slow dance with my wife and be humbled by the fact that God allows us sinners still to enjoy so much good in this fallen world. There were plenty of friends, and pastors in particular, who were more than happy to stick around and help drink all the unfinished bottles of wine! From beginning to end, it was a good day.

Rebekah, I'm so glad you found a good man, and a Lutheran one, in Gabriel. God richly bless your marriage and your household!

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