14 October 2007

Weddings

I have taken the past two Fridays off. It has been nice -- I've had a cough, and that always seems to make me tired, so the extra day of "rest" has been beneficial. Well, at least it was beneficial when I was able to rest... but the reason I got these days off was because of weddings.

Weddings are a funny thing. I have never been a lover of ceremony, and they are almost pure ceremony. The only consolation is that my friends tend to be people who do not like ceremony very much. Last week, for example, the wedding ceremony itself only lasted about 15 or 20 minutes... and that was only because the bride's father stalled in giving her away. Then, there was a good meal, and then we were done, which was nice. Long, drawn-out parties are another thing I have never liked much.

When I was married, the reception was too big and too expensive for my tastes, but I wasn't paying, and I wanted to make my in-laws (and lovely wifey) happy, so I did not oppose the extravagance and long evening all that vigorously. Still, it could have made a decent down payment on a house...

My older brother officiated at the wedding last week, and in his message, he managed to condense all the good Christian theology I have ever heard at weddings into a message that lasted about five minutes. That is something I admire about him: he has much better summative powers than I do. He got the whole bit in: marriage is a sacred ordinance, it was honored by Christ's first miracle at Cana, it is a beautiful metaphor for Christ's relationship with the church, and it predates government and even the Church catholic. It was much better than many wedding messages I have heard, especially this one that was essentially a 45-minute exegesis of the entire chapter of I Corinthians 13.

Ultimately, I am not sure what to think about weddings. I think they tend toward unhealthy excess and brideolatry. In short, they fetishize -- and are fetishized by -- the participants in some ways that can be very damaging, I think. What's more, they are often more or less meaningless. Four months after my wedding, for instance, my brother-in-law got married, and the reverend at their wedding said as many nice things about marriage as our officiant did. If anything, she was more religious about the whole thing than our elder was. And recently, that marriage melted down and is now over in the eyes of the state.

So I'm not necessarily sure that weddings are all that great. But they certainly do provide an excellent chance to escape from my daily task of feeding myself into the horrible customer service machine as is my wont. That, at least, is worth something.

(Sorry about the disjointedness of this post -- I am tired and slightly sick still. At least it's a post!)

1 comment:

marshwiggle said...

what strange formative events God uses in our lives. It has been a joy to see your BiL and niece each week and I hope that perhaps that is the good from this undesirable situation.

weddings.. eh. if only the rest of married life was as cheap.. The best part of the wedding for me was it was one of the first gutchecks for me that marriage would not be all about me.. that chance to painfully financially put my wife to be first was a good lesson to start with..

as for meaning, it is the bag that you place all the meaning of a shared life together into.. empty it is meaningless.. but in 30 years when perhaps one of your own gets the experience, you remember your wedding as the start of that shared married life and wish the same for your offspring.

Or perhaps I'm still a hopeless romantic.