Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Wet Blanket

Sometimes I think that it's my purpose in life to be the wet blanket. This isn't always the most fun or popular role to play, but alas, it seems I can't avoid it. Have you seen the video below? It's an extremely popular video of a Minnesota couple's wedding ceremony. Whaddya think?

Here comes the wet blanket: I'm not a fan. Yes it's fun, yes it's cute, yes it's funny, but I also think it cheapens - at least to some extent - the wedding ceremony.

I think this is because the actual meaning of a wedding ceremony has been lost on most Americans, even most Christians. Marriage isn't just a ceremony where vows are spoken and candles are lit. Rather, it is a covenant between two people and God. The husband and wife aren't just making promises of love and fidelity to each other, but also to God. It's an extremely serious commitment, and, as the Book of Common Prayer encourages, is "not to be entered into lightly."

So then, why do we treat the ceremony so flippantly? I've been to several weddings that have begun with some kind of goofy introduction. For example, one wedding I went to had the minister repeating the lines of the priest from The Princess Bride (Mawwige is what bwings us hew togeva today.). Is that really appropriate at a ceremony where two people are going to make a vow before God? The two just don't seem to fit in my mind, and I apply the same reasoning to the above video (not to mention the use of a crazy dance song during a sacred ceremony!). I have yet to perform a wedding in my ministerial career, but I think I can say with certainty that I would not be a part of one that did not treat the ceremony with the respect and seriousness it was due. Nowadays a wedding ceremony seems to be seen more as a formality that people have to go throw so they can get to the party afterwards.

On the other hand, I don't think I'm a prude who would be so uptight as to not allow a little good natured fun (for example, my best man at my wedding was going to give a prank ring to the minister, but chickened out at the last moment). A marriage is a time of celebration, but it is also a time of deep reflection, contemplation, and self examination. I just miss seeing people take their wedding seriously.

OK, I'm done being the wet blanket.

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