Friday, October 30, 2009

A "Church" Wedding

Ran across this story from BBC about a Japanese developer who built an English-style church on the 21st floor of a high-rise. He did this because it's quite popular for Japanese couples to be married in English-style church buildings.

We've had it happen before - someone calls us up at church and wants go get married here.
"Oh, are you a member?"
"Have you ever been here?"
"No. But your building looks pretty from the outside."
"Are you a Lutheran?"
"What's that?"

Where does this desire come from - for church weddings among the non-church going, or even non-Christian types?

But the problem is deeper. I suspect many people want a God on their own terms, who will smile when they want him to, but then fade away for the most part. A God like a family member you see only at - yes - weddings and funerals! A generic and pretty God that makes them feel good. Not a crucified and bloody sacrifice for their sin.

"Aunt Tilly, it's been forever! Isn't it a shame that we only see each other at weddings and funerals!"

I know of pastors who will marry anybody, anytime, anywhere - all in the name of "outreach". But how effective is this? And a better question - how does it maintain the integrity of our confession, when we reinforce people's conceptions of a fair-weather God?

In contrast, a Christian wedding centers on Christ - the true Bridegroom - and offers the couple and all attending an enduring word of promise with a message much bigger than "have a nice marriage you nice kids". This is our Savior, who gives meaning to marriage - and to all of life. And his house isn't just for show.

1 comment:

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I will attest to the common idea of the Japanese liking "Christian" style weddings - but not because they are Christian, but because they are the "Western" style.

There is a cultural idea of getting married in a Church - completely separate from any idea of worship. However, with the increase of outdoor weddings and the like, other ascetic values are coming into the popular conception of marriage - for good or for ill.