One of the ways my wife, Beth, and I celebrated our anniversary this year was to watch the video of our wedding ceremony and reception. It’s been a few years since we’ve done that, and I found myself a little surprised by some of the things I saw and heard, and how they made me feel.
I was ready to see a bride and groom that looked very young, but I was taken back a little at the site of our parents. For example my dad, on my wedding day, was exactly the age I am now after 28 years of marriage.
Having recently performed my own son’s wedding ceremony, there was something about seeing my dad perform my wedding ceremony when he was my age that was a little unnerving. Has a generation passed already? Will the next generation pass that quickly?
During that nostalgic viewing, however, I found great encouragement in the music we chose for our wedding ceremony. Some of it was just fun, such as the piano recessional that was the Charlie Brown theme song from the Peanuts cartoon series. Some of it was serious and prayerful, such as the hymn that truly expressed the desire of our hearts, “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us.”
But there were two more contemporary duets that spoke freshly to me as we watched ourselves getting married a generation later, and wondered at how quickly time passes. Just after our vows to one another, we heard this musical encouragement for lasting fidelity from the Farrell and Farrell song, “After All Those Years.”
“After all those years, when our children have said goodbye, after all those years I’ll love you even more.”*
I first heard Farrell and Farrell sing that song at an IBSA-sponsored Youth Encounter in Springfield, Illinois. Its message stuck with me, as I knew even then that I wanted to marry someone who I would adore, even after the kids were grown and gone. We’re almost there now. And I do.
But there was another duet, “The Wedding Day” by Harvest, that also reassured me, and helped me reset my perspective on weddings, and generations, and how quickly time passes. It pointed to the Wedding Day that is much more important than any here on earth.
“We will fly away, when He hears His Father say, ‘Jesus, go and get your bride. Today’s your wedding day.’”**
I think I understand more fully now why music is so important in our worship. We the Church are indeed the bride of Christ, waiting with longing for our Bridegroom to come and make our relationship complete. On one hand, it seems we’ve been waiting a long time. But when we live by faith with the one we’ve chosen to adore, the years and the generations fly by quickly. And that’s okay.
The music of a Christian marriage can give us a wonderful picture and promise of love and fidelity that lasts, both in a marriage and in a relationship with God. Many of us are fortunate to have been blessed by that kind of marriage for years, even generations. And all of us in the Bride of Christ, His church, are blessed by it from now through eternity.
Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association.
* “After All Those Years,” by Tim Sheppard, ©1982, Tim Sheppard Music Company
** “The Wedding Day,” by Brent Lamb, ©1981, Straightway Music