I have been reading a book by michael yaconelli called Messy Spirituality and came across a story in the book which i enjoyed and wanted to share. There is something about the story that makes me want to shout YES!, something within it that makes me feel that this is what it is about, this is grace and joy wrapped together in embrace. The story follows below:
“One of my son’s friends (I’ll call him Greg) recently celebrated his twenty-eighth birthday. Greg’s parents were not happy with his life choices, especially his decision to live with his girlfriend, Diane. Knowing his parents’ displeasure, Greg and Diane decided to get married, and they called his parents to give them the good news. “We want to be married in Minnesota, so the entire family can come.” Greg’s parents were happy but restrained.
“While they were planning the wedding, Diane discovered she was pregnant. Realizing the pregnancy would upset his parents, Greg decided to call off the wedding and use the money they were going to spend on it for their baby instead. Greg and Diane opted for a courthouse wedding with a justice of the peace presiding. Only my son and his girlfriend witnessed the union.
“A couple of weeks later, my son and his girlfriend were with some friends, and the subject of Greg’s wedding came up. Everyone concluded that it was more like a nonwedding – impersonal and isolated. As they talked , their conviction grew. No wedding should be an impersonal, isolated, bureaucratic legal transaction. Weddings should be celebrated. the couple should be surrounded with the support and care of family and friends. The group looked at each other and almost in unison said, “Why don’t we give Greg and Diane the wedding they never had?” As soon as the words left their mouths, they knew what had to be done. Even though Greg and Diane were legally married, the group decided to gift them with a “real” wedding. The date was set, both families were called, and surprisingly, they all agreed to come to the surprise wedding. Sixty friend and family were involved in a conspiracy of grace.
“To ensure that the couple was available on their new wedding day, Greg and Diane were invited to my son’s home for a “dress up” dinner. When they arrived, a group of their friends kidnapped them separately and each was given the bachelor and bachelorette party they’d never had. The bride and groom were separately driven to a secluded place where, seated in a circle with their same-gender friends, they were asked a series of questions like, “Now that you have been married for three months, what mistakes have you made? How can we help you in your marriage?” Both the young husband and wife were given a picture of their spouse and asked to write on the back all the reasons they loved that person.
“When the parties were finished, Greg and Diane thought that the surprise was over. You can imagine their shock when they were returned to the house, only to discover sixty of their family and friends waiting for them, laughing and yelling “Surprise!” The hugging and the crying began. It took Greg and Diane a long time to stop crying, and after they regained composure, the entire group moved to the backyard surrounded with flowers, where a minister was waiting. The couple exchanged vows, each parent vowed their support, and each friend walked by and whispered a blessing to Greg and Diane. When the service was completed, there wasn’t a dry eye anywhere. Everyone left knowing they had participated in a moment of grace. This wedding had “Jesus” written all over it.”