This past Sunday night I had the great pleasure of attending the wedding ceremony of some dear friends, Tyler and Helen. I expect greatness from these two in so many areas. Being such dynamic individuals, I can't wait to see what amazing things result from their union.
There is one thing that stood out to me as particularly meaningful and I think it is worth a deeper look.
The Party...though some call it a "reception" is that thing I want to consider a bit more. I love the fact that the people involved in the lives of Tyler and Helen celebrated the beginning of this marriage. Some of the people had known them their entire lives and some just recently met them, but the fact remained that they were known individually and a party was thrown to celebrate the new aspect of their lives together.
This may seem rather common to a lot of people from different backgrounds. However, I think the evangelicals of the South have failed miserably in showing the world how to throw, attend and enjoy a party. Consider Jesus, our great example, for a bit...
When Jesus wasn't teaching, healing or off by himself in prayer you often found him at a party. He partied with the stuffy religious types and he partied with the lower class people of the day. At some parties he did miracles and at others he really pissed some people off. Prostitutes clung to him...try that at you next party and some even cried on his feet. Despite what all happened at the parties, one thing we know for sure is that Jesus partied! Why else would he admit that people called him a glutton and a drunk?
Imagine for a moment that we back up in time 2000 years and we are at a party and Jesus is in attendance. let's go to that place for a moment...
In my mind some group is playing cheesy versions of various love songs mingled with the occasional Golden Oldie. The lead singer just struggled his way through "Endless Love" with the Bass Guitarist singing the female part in a weak falsetto voice...and sounding nothing like Diana Ross, though they look similar in some ways. The band, being older and more out of shape than they remember being the last time they actually got paid for playing announce that they are taking a 15 minute break. The crowd feels like they are the ones getting a break and they begin talking and visiting or perhaps getting a refill of wine.
Not too long into the break a loud reverberation shrieks over the sound system and it causes a bit of a startle for everyone and they look to the stage. Who is it that has grabbed the lead guitar and has a harmonica brace around his neck...that's right baby...JESUS!
Jesus obviously had enough of the bad music and drab song choices so while the band is on a break he breaks into a slamming rendition of "Proud Mary". Before the crowd can calm down he goes right into a sweet Blues Traveler medley. Some guy down front who has had a little too much wine and is obviously from the Southern part of Judea starts screaming out "FREE BIRD! FREE BIRD!", but Jesus slows the pace down with a different song.
Jesus pulls a dusty piano from out of the shadows and opens it up. People don't know exactly what is about to be played but they know it will be good. Jesus launches into the crowd favorite...the one everyone knows or at least mouths along a half step late as if they know it...Piano Man! By the end of the set, drinks are held in the air, strangers have their arms around one another swaying back and forth and everyone is singing together.
When the last note has been played Jesus stands, bows and then backs up to get a running start for the way he finishes every set he ever plays...stage dive! During the time he is being passed around people are trying to touch the hem of his garment and a few want an autograph. He is finally placed on his feet toward the back of the reception hall and he hugs a few of the disciples and gives some knuckles to some others. Though he had done this kind of thing before (and would do it again) the Disciples didn't think he would really do it when they dared him to do it some 15 minutes ago.
The end result is that the party is rocking, Jesus Christ really is a super star but maybe most important to Jesus is that he has set a small example for his followers...both now and forever...of what it means to celebrate and party.
May His people learn that lesson well because as I recall, one analogy of eternity has a lot to do with a great feast and plenty of partying.