I spend most of my weekends watching nerdy movies, playing video games, reading comics and going to church. This past weekend was a lot different, though. Instead of participating in my favorite nerdy activities, Saturday and Sunday were filled with ceremony.
On Saturday morning I had the pleasure of attending the ordination ceremony of one of my good friends. He is being ordained as a priest into the Anglican Church. I’m a good Baptist boy who hasn’t experienced that much high church. On Saturday I found myself watching a bishop ordain my friend and everyone was wearing a robe, a sash or an awesome hat.
On Saturday afternoon I had the honor of performing a wedding ceremony for one of my good friends and his new wife, a former student of mine. Even though the wedding wasn’t nearly as nerdy as ours, it was a great time. Even without the lightsabers and Star Wars music we had at our wedding, it was awesome to see two people commit their lives to each other. I’ve done a number of weddings and been to a lot of weddings; a wedding ceremony truly is a sacred moment in which we witness the miracle of two people becoming one.
On Sunday morning I had the joy of baptizing a number of students at church. Baptism is another wonderful ceremony full of symbolism. The image of going down into the water just like Jesus went to the grave, and rising again is extremely powerful. Martin Luther said that we all need to “crawl back to our baptism”; we need to be reminded of what it means to join Christ in his death and live a new life.
Ceremony is important; it helps us pause and reflect on important moments. Ceremony for the sake of ceremony isn’t that great; we shouldn’t strive to attend as many cotillions or grand balls as we possibly can. But when ceremonies represent and symbolize something important: affirmation of ministry, joining of two lives in holy matrimony or the proclamation of faith, we should celebrate them.
I had a great weekend of ceremony and it was a blessing to be a part of some special moments in the lives of others. I even finished the weekend watching The Fellowship of the Ring; not very ceremonial but still pretty awesome.
And seriously, how bad would you feel about yourself if you were the Uruk-hai who got killed by a Hobbit?