As a pastor, officiating a wedding is a lot like managing a business. There are only a few small differences: You don’t choose your employees, none of them can be fired, they have to be able to perform under pressure and in front of audiences, you have no interview process and have no idea who your employees are, training only lasts 45 minutes, and your investors generally spend thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars for this one big “opening day.” They’re almost exactly the same. If you ever meet a pastor and you can measure his pulse simply by looking at the vein in his forehead, this is why.
Furthermore, it’s through this ceremony where the pastor has the responsibility of organizing things specifically so that the ceremony honors the bride and groom, honors God, and upholds this incredibly important symbol of the relationship between Christ and his church. No pressure.
Before wedding rehearsals begin, the wedding parties assemble and go into their natural states of behavior. The group, usually of personal friends, joke, goof off, poke fun at one another, recall the bachelor and bachelorette parties and talk about how much fun the reception is going to be.
Meanwhile, the bride prays earnestly and silently that the wedding miraculously goes well. Then the rehearsal begins.
At that time I get everyone’s attention and address the wedding party. I talk about the importance of the ceremony that they’re about to take part in. I talk about reverence, honor and what makes something sacred. Then I tell them my goal: to make this wedding day stand apart in the minds of all those who attend. I want attendees to walk out of doors of the church saying, “Wow, there was something incredible, powerful, engaging and sacred that just happened.”
When I convey this to the wedding party and they choose to respond, something beautiful takes place. The wedding party transforms themselves into who they need to be in order to honor the bride and groom, marriage and God. It’s incredible to watch. Their transformation becomes a
transformative experience for those who attend the wedding ceremony.
My fear is that there are some days of my life when I simply live my “natural state” of behavior without focusing on honoring what is sacred. We all have a baseline behavior that we default to when we could be striving for something else- a life that causes people to say, “Wow, there was something about him or her that was incredible, powerful, engaging and sacred.”
I pray that we choose to live lives that reflect better the incredible, powerful, engaging and sacred God we serve and that our lives have a positive and transformative impact on the world around us.
Pastor Travis Montgomery