Hey, it's Bob and Jayne's big day! What a happy celebration it is; from start to finish I don't think Bob was ever able to wipe that huge grin off his face! It's also truly a testimony of God's faithfulness and grace that brought the two of them together.
Jayne's happy but a bit nervous, you can tell. Everything went quite smoothly, but it's a pretty big deal to her family and friends. Jayne's a PK/MK, and her parents have a lot of connections in Vancouver. I think over 600 people must have been crammed in the KS sanctuary. Her parents got married in this very sanctuary, decades ago! And as the first of her siblings to get married, she had a fair bit of pressure in the wedding-planning stages. Her dad was the one to officiate, but they also had a "word of exhortation" from Pastor John, who had done their pre-marital counselling.
I thought the ceremony was beautiful and worshipful, and I really enjoyed it from my front-row seat. I especially appreciated that Jayne specifically wanted their wedding to be a worship service with the gospel clearly communicated, for the sake of Bob's relatives and their friends and coworkers who were not Christians. It was such a privilege for me to lead worship for them.
It was also ridiculously cool, albeit a bit head-spinning, to catch up again with lots of old KS/FL friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in over a year. Even from KS, which nominally is my "home church" now, there were many friends and aunties/uncles whom I hadn't seen in a long time -- ever since the ministry opportunities have really accelerated in the past couple years, I haven't had a chance to be back at KS but once every month or two. It's good to be back, but I think I'm happier and have a broader and more sober perspective on the church issues at KS now that I have my ministries elsewhere.
The weekend did have one shadow cast on it for me, although I suppose I shouldn't have dwelt on it so much (and thanks Jon for chastening me about that!). Friday night at the rehearsal dinner I happened to meet for the first time and sit next to a well-known, long-time lay leader in her past churches, prominent in the children's ministry. With that common interest in children's and youth ministries, we struck up a conversation about the need for whole-family outreach, with the children's workers coordinating in tandem with the adult ministries that can reach the parents. So far, so good. She talked about how so many of the kids carry emotional hurts and pent-up anger and don't know how to deal with it. Agreed! How all they need is to identify and express their emotions, and they'll be able to heal themselves from there; they have the power within themselves. Uhh, hold on a sec. She went on further about self-actualization, reflecting some of the common thinking and terminology I've seen in contemporary secular psychology.
And I've noticed this as a trend -- an alarming amount of pop psychology making its way into the second-generation, CBC/ABC church. How everyone has a voice (which is true), and all they need to find healing is to express it (which is not true). How bottling up anger hurts oneself (which is true), so hence one needs to vent it (which is not true). I expect to see this kind of thinking in the secular world, but I am sorely devastated to see it infiltrating the church. I was so incredibly disappointed and sad, I had a hard time maintaining a conversation with her; we kind of "agreed to disagree". It is important to "know thyself", indeed, and to recognize emotional hurts, anger, bitterness. But it is not sufficient simply to recognize, we also need to change. Where we are is not where we should be.
I liken it to the difference between confession and repentance (in modern-day usage; I think Scriptural usage assumes we understand the two are inseparable). In today's language, confession means admitting I'm wrong. But repentance involves turning away from sin and back toward God. If I am perpetually angry, yes, I need to recognize that. But it's not enough just to say, "I'm angry, that's the way I am" -- I need to change, for "the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:20). And the claim of Scripture is that we do not have the power within ourselves to change; indeed, apart from Christ we "can do nothing" (John 15:5). This is why Christ died for us; this is why for all of man's problems -- addictions, self-image issues, family issues, failing marriages, angry kids -- the only real solution is Jesus Christ himself.