By Mark A. Taylor
Her blouse was glimmering white. His suit was dressy black. They smiled as they walked toward the platform.
Accompanying them was a lineup of young adults also smiling, also dressed in black and white. The girls carried flowers. The boys wore boutonnieres. The room was full of anticipation; family and friends looked expectantly at those assembled at the front, with special interest in those two at the center who stood out from all the others.
Who was this couple? The bride and groom?
No, it was almost time for the bride to appear, but she hadn’t yet walked down the aisle.
The man and woman I’m describing were the minister and his wife who had been asked by the bride and groom to perform their wedding together.
Actually, they asked the minister’s wife first. She serves in a staff position at this church and had a lifelong relationship with the groom. After much thought, she agreed. Somewhere during the process she came to her husband, the senior minister at the church, and asked him to share the task with her.
The result was something beautiful: a husband and wife with a decades-long marriage, encouraging a bride and groom about the life they were beginning together. They spoke with credibility and conviction that was uniquely compelling.
We just expect to hear certain things from the minister when he performs a wedding. We take his words for granted without considering whether he’s speaking out of habit or passion. But at this ceremony, the minister’s wife stood beside him to speak with him about the grand challenge of a marriage. We saw their accountability to each other. We heard truth spoken from their hearts.
The power of their example was in their comfort with each other and with the ministry they were performing.
Some women would wheedle for position. This woman had agreed slowly, in the spirit of a servant.
Some women would relish the right to take charge. This woman decided her husband should share the task, and finally pronounce the couple husband and wife.
Some couples would compete for attention in front of the crowd. This couple gave themselves to the task of pointing us all to God.
Those who attended thought afresh about commitments we had made or ought to make. We were pleased this church had allowed this couple to serve so effectively.
I’m guessing this won’t be the last time they will serve this way together, but I don’t expect their example to start a trend. Not many couples could handle the task so unselfconsciously. And not many churches would let them.