Before, during and after the wedding I officiated last Friday night, I seemed to surprise people that I was a pastor. Most people were excited about this realization, but I was surprised to find out that some didn’t believe my credentials. They questioned my legitimacy, but not to me. What could I do? Just do my job. If I did a good job of officiating the wedding, word would get around and it would silent any critics.
I was fairly sure the wedding would go well. The groom, Brent Snow, was a friend of mine since high school and I knew his family well. I only met the bride, Heidi Armstrong, earlier in the year, but I got to know her well through the premarital counseling Jana and I did for Brent and Heidi.
A concern I had about the wedding, though, was I was sick in the days leading up to it. I developed a cough Tuesday afternoon. I slept alright that night, but decided to stay home on Wednesday just to be safe for the wedding. Well, I got worse on Wednesday. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night and woke up Thursday with a 102.6 degree fever. So, while dealing with being sick I’m trying to figure out how I was going to meet with the wedding coordinator and do the wedding rehearsal Thursday night.
One person who had been helping me out, as I prepped for officiating my first wedding, was Steve Walters. Steve, as some of you know, is the Campus Pastor at CCC Sarpy. He’s also a stud. I texted and emailed him Thursday morning and he offered to fill in for the rehearsal. With that taken care of, I continued to rest and drink water.
I woke up Friday feeling better, but still felt weary. My main concern was my voice being able to hold up throughout the day and then being able to talk for thirty minutes in the wedding ceremony. I kept drinking water and sucking down Halls throughout the day.
I touched base with Steve Walters about the ceremony in the morning, and also gave him a copy of the message to look over. He gave me some suggestions and edits, which I implemented. At this point, I felt good about the overall ceremony.
The wedding party started showing up at CCC mid-afternoon, so changed into my suit and started greeting them. It was great to see Brent’s family again, his two brothers (Chad and Troy) and of course his parents. And, it’s always fun to have my friend Nathan Higgs involved. He was a groomsman in the wedding.
The wedding party started taking photos, and I just went over the ceremony numerous times just so I could be as prepared as possible. As the start time drew near I felt ready.
As far as the ceremony? It went fast. Perhaps it didn’t feel that way to others, but since I was talking most of the time it seemed to fly by. My voice held up throughout the service. The scripture for the ceremony was 1 Corinthians 13, so I shared on what I’ve learned about love since I’ve been married. For example, the phrase “love is patient and kind” means something different to me than it did when I first got married. Everyone seemed to receive and appreciate the message. And before I knew it, I was pronouncing Brent and Heidi “husband and wife” at 6:42 PM. They exited the stage, along with the bridal party. I made an announcement and made my way out, ushering my wife out as well.
Once I made it out into the Atrium, I said the first of many prayers of thanks. I whispered to Jana that we had made it through the day, and we smiled.
Afterwards it was fun talking with people. Everyone is gracious with me since I was the “pastor”. Lots of good and nice comments from everyone regarding me officiating the ceremony. (And I’m grateful for everyone who prayed for me in the lead up to it!)
At the reception, Jana and I sat at a table with people we didn’t know, but I apparently fascinated them. One guy exclaimed, “You’re a preacher?!” Of course, this was after I quoted a line from the movie Deliverance, “Squeal like a pig!” And, this was after I got the rest of the table to admit what movie they were discussing, Deliverance, which they were somewhat embarrassed to admit to since I was a pastor. Great conversations with them about God and the role of the church. One guy admitted he hadn’t been to church in 30 years. Another guy told me he still hides his hands when he sees nuns because of getting his hands rapped as a kid in Catholic school.
The reception was fun, and I even made it into the slideshow.
The picture is of (from left to right) Brent Snow, Blake Youngman, me, and Nick Kelly celebrating the 1997 Huskers National Championship at 72nd & Dodge with 10,000 of our friends.
A great night all around. I’m glad Brent and Heidi allowed me to officiate their wedding. It was a lot of fun, and an honor as well. And, I even had someone come up to me afterward, who had doubted my legitimacy as a pastor, and tell me that they appreciated the job I did in the ceremony. Winning converts on multiple fronts one at a time!