Over the last several years my wife and I have had the opportunity to go to a lot of weddings. In addition to our own three children getting married last year, we have had four nieces and nephews get married in the last three years. That was seven times in the last three years our family was together for a wedding. It is wedding season again as this past weekend we attended one and this coming weekend we have another nephew getting married so it will be two more weddings in two weeks.
This past weekend was a unique experience for Mia and I. The wedding was conducted in a language we didn't understand, Karen. Karen is an Asian language of the Karen people who were displaced out of the area that is now Burma. As we sat and listened to words we didn't understand it was amazing how much we still picked up. The message was the same. There were two people who loved each other and were pledging to spend the rest of their lives together. There was the talk of how God has instituted marriage and how He is at the center of it. We witnessed comments by the pastor that made everyone laugh and other comments that had people shaking their heads in agreement and deep thought. It was beautiful to witness this ceremony and be able to see all that went into it, even though we didn't know the words.
Another part of this wedding, and all the weddings I have been to in the last couple years, was the reference to the family and all the people who were there to celebrate with the bride and groom. We are to do more than get dressed up and enjoy the good food and fellowship that comes with a wedding. The people present are called to support the bride and groom as they begin this journey in life together. Hebrews 12:1 isn't a verse often associated with weddings, but after witnessing one in a language I didn't understand it was the first verse that came to mind. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." At a wedding we are called to be that great cloud of witnesses, helping the bride and groom move in the right direction and later persevere throughout their marriage.
This doesn't only apply to us when we are at a wedding or a celebration of some sort. We are called to be this great cloud of witnesses everyday as we go through our lives. Be a powerful witness and support to the people around you. Sometimes it is just by being present, other times it is lending a helping hand or maybe even a shoulder to lean on in difficult times. Whatever it may be, I want to encourage all of us to live out the calling we have to be there for one another in any and every situation.