[From Noel] Long ago, I used to be a lifeguard. I took courses and was trained in lifesaving techniques, CPR, aquatic rescue and so on. I even worked at a pool and had to use these skills a couple of times, but like most skills you stop using, I have forgotten most of what I learned about lifeguarding. While I was a lifeguard I had to do refresher courses from time to time and one of the things they would do at a course like that is go back to the beginning and remind you why you learned the skill in the first place. You learn CPR in order to be prepared to save a life. You learn how to use a backboard in order to prevent further spinal damage. In keeping skills fresh it is sometimes important to go back to the beginning and remember why you learned this in the first place.
This summer, churches everywhere are offering marriage refresher courses (almost every weekend). They’re called weddings. They are usually free and the public is welcome to attend. If you are part of a church, and someone at your church is getting married you are usually welcome to attend. It is a great opportunity to be reminded of how you got into the marriage you’re in.
Marriages have one unfortunate result in that they become very familiar. It is sometimes difficult to remember what your life was like before marriage. Maybe you didn’t have a life before you were married! Either way, we take our spouses, , our families, and our marriages for granted. That giddy, exciting day many years ago when we first tied the knot can sometimes feel like a distant memory.
Seeing a wedding is a good refresher for us. We are reminded that this was supposed to be fun! It started out as a very new, exciting experience. It’s also good to remind ourselves that marriages ought to be taken seriously. It takes a lot of hard work to make them healthy and enjoyable.
A good wedding is also a worship service. At a wedding we recognize that God is the source of every good gift, and that He withholds no good thing from us. In preacher language, marriage is a sacrament. In English, that means that marriage is a means for dispensing grace to one another. In marriage two people accept the reality that we will fail and will sin against each other and at the same time promise to forgive and share the forgiveness we receive from God with another sinner.
When you go to a wedding you are witness to something special. You watch someone make a promise that will in turn have a role in making them who they will be for the rest of their lives. So make plans with what is left of your summer to catch a wedding. Even if you have to, wander into a park or a marina over the next couple of weeks and make yourself part of one. Just dress nicely, bring a card and chances are you will be able to stay for some food. Where I come from that counts as a date!