Last weekend Peter and I attended the wedding of a young woman who has a special place in our hearts. Besides being one of our daughter’s best friends, the bride spent a year living with us when she was in grade 10, so there’s some wonderful shared history in our book of memories.
Peter and I received the beautiful invitation in the mail a few months ago. We were honored to be included on the guest list. With eagerness we discussed the date and then promptly sent off our affirmative response. Yes – we would be delighted to attend the wedding ceremony and reception to follow!
The appointed day arrived. Family and friends gathered in the church to watch and wait for the anticipated arrival of the bridegroom and his bride.
Our spirits were deeply touched as the men filed out of the side room, took their places at the front, and then turned to fix their eyes on the big wooden door that would open soon to admit the bridal party.
The organ announced the arrival of the entourage at the back entrance. The procession began, the air filled with expectant and solemn joy. Our hearts were moved as we witnessed the bride being escorted down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be husband. Dressed in a gorgeous traditional white gown, the bride’s smile radiated unspeakable beauty. With anticipation she joined her beloved before the altar of the cathedral, surrounded by a huge wedding party of 18 attendants plus several children who stole our hearts with their cuteness.
The liturgy that followed led us through prayers and responses, the exchange of vows and rings, and the kiss between bride and groom to seal the sacred covenant. Joyous music and celebration, smiles and photos, and words of greeting and congratulation followed as the crowd spilled out onto the street.
It was a ceremony to remember!
Later that afternoon, Peter and I found our way to the reception location. Upon entering the venue, we found a welcome table on which were laid out place setting cards, each inscribed with a name. Quite a few had already been picked up; we found ours with no trouble. Soon we were enjoying conversation with friends and a delicious 4 course dinner. There followed speeches and toasts, games and hilarity, chatting and catching up with those we hadn’t seen for a number of years. Music and dancing came later and carried on who knows how long into the wee hours of the morning.
It was a delightful day – a day I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
As we left the banquet hall late that evening, I happened to notice again the welcome table at the entrance. There remained a few name cards that had not been claimed – for people who said they’d come but then for whatever reason had not shown up. It somehow made me feel sad inside.
A most sobering thought came to my mind.
Those people missed out – they responded positively initially, but then unfortunately something kept them away.
And then there were the loves ones who were invited but declined, never intending to come at all.
I realized that if I hadn’t RSVP’d to Saturday’s wedding invitation, my name card would not have been displayed on the welcome table, nor would there have been a place set for me at the dinner table. I would have forfeited a priceless gift and completely missed the joy of our young friend.
As a Christian, I see a powerful analogy here.
Do you know that we have all received a personal invitation to another wedding feast?
It’s the wedding feast of the bridegroom, Jesus, and His bride, the Church (you and me and anyone else who loves Jesus and desires to be included).
Like the wedding last Saturday, this one too requires a response from us: will we attend or not? A decision must be made.
I really hope you decide to be there. I guarantee it’s going to be the best wedding celebration that heaven or earth has ever seen!
Have you made your RSVP?