My son entered the covenant of marriage last month. Justin is my oldest and first of my two children to get married. I shed a couple tears when Kristina asked me a year ago to officiate their ceremony. During the ceremony there were more than a couple tears! They started when I walked my wife, Joy, down the flowered lawn in the idyllic setting of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (near San Diego). They continued as my son came to the front with his best man and groomsmen. When our daughter came down the aisle I really lost it! Thankfully, by the time Kristina and her father were in front of me I was able to welcome everyone and begin the ceremony.
I’ve had the privilege of officiating many wedding ceremonies in more than 30 years of pastoral ministry. But this one was the most significant by far. The reason was not because of what I said (though I got positive feedback, thankfully, from Justin and Kristina and her dad!). The reason it was the most significant ceremony in my life was because of a relationship. It was my son who was standing in front of me. What I had to say came from 29 years of being his dad. My words came from a deeper place in my soul.
The same was true on their end. They wanted me to perform their wedding because of the “personal” touch that only I could bring. They would hear me differently than someone else because of our relationship. The relationship made a difference for both of us in how I gave and how they received the words of the ceremony.
Is this not how things are with our Lord? Does not the experience of our relationship with Him change the way we hear His words? Is not the most important factor in entering deeply into the logos and pathos of Scripture and Spirit our vital and living connection with Christ?
The answer is ‘yes’. My son’s wedding drove that home to me. My heavenly Father speaks His word to me from a very personal place. I am His child. I am His Son’s bride. And what opens my soul to hear His word in a way that makes it more than words is the quality of my relationship with the Triune God.
Do I hear the compassion and feel the love of the Father in His word to me? Do I pursue a relationship with Christ that makes the Word more than words? This is what contemplative reading is seeking to nurture in our souls. After the wedding I realize more than ever how my soul longs for the same connection with Jesus.
Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer.
And blessings on you, Justin and Kristina! Dad Cofield