I'm back from Minnesota, having successfully fulfilled the duties of my office in performing the rites and ceremonies of holy matrimony for Ann (nee Miller) and Andrew Cashner. It was one of a small handful of my very favorite weddings, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire weekend. I lost track of the number of times people thanked me for coming all the way to Minnesota for the occasion; but truth be told, it was a genuine treat for me, a privilege and a real pleasure all the way around.
If Ann and Andrew and their circle of friends are any indication, I am greatly encouraged about this next generation after my own. I'm afraid that I spend a lot of my time feeling pretty cynical and pessemistic, but the young adults I got to spend the last few days with were a delight to be around. They were courteous and respectful and pleasant, and really quite interesting to visit with. I'm actually a rather shy person; I am confident in my preaching and teaching, because it isn't my Word that I am given to speak, and it isn't about me; but when it comes to social gatherings, especially large crowds of people I don't really know, I would almost always rather blend into the wallpaper or disappear altogether. This weekend wedding was a whole different experience for me. I honestly enjoyed the chance to chat at some length with all these different people, and basically to hang out with the crowd. Ann and Andrew and their parents were so wonderfully kind and gracious; they took such good care of me while I was there, and I loved every minute.
It's only been over the course of this past year that I've gotten to know Ann and Andrew, but it would be hard not to love this pair! Their personalities are different, but they complement each other beautifully. I was struck from early on at how much they have in common; certainly, they share similar values and a common zeal for the Word of God. When they asked me to do their wedding, they were looking for more than "a man with a Bible who can tie a knot," as the song goes. They're serious about theology, and no less so about their Christian faith and life. I had the privilege, two months ago, of confirming them in the Lutheran Church. Most of their friends are not Lutheran (they span a variety of confessions), but so far as I could tell, at any rate, they are dedicated Christians and likewise serious about their faith. Not in the happy-clappy, what a friend we have in Jesus, sort of way, but intelligent, thoughtful, and conscientious. It was a helpful reminder to me, that there are members of the Bride of Christ, the baptized faithful, even outside the Lutheran communion.
I usually have to work pretty hard at names, at least until I get to know the people. I can remember the names and picture the faces of many of the people I met at Ann & Andrew's wedding. That says more about the sort of people they are than it does about my memory for names! Win & Nancy, Randy & Ann, Bobby, Matthew & Kirsten, Kora, Mandy, Amanda & John, Sara, Ryan, Sarah, Katherine, Devin, Jim, Jess, Peter. There were more, and I could tell you at least a little something about each of them. It makes me a little sad to think that I'll probably never get to visit with most of them again. But it is encouraging to consider that these young people are out there, all over the country, serving faithfully within their respective stations in life. If we are known by the friends we keep, then here is yet another indication of the fine people that Ann & Andrew are.