Saturday, February 28, 2009

When Two Disciples Wed

Presenting Mr and Mrs Suchat Panantang

One of the greatest privilege in the ministry is to be host pastor when two godly young people in your ministry marry. This Saturday morning over 150+ friends and family of a new married couple joined together in holy matrimony. These two young adults, Suchat (nicknamed Matthew, a pastor's son and a mechanic active in our church here) and Miss Kaew (a Bible School graduate and helper in our work here for about five years) whom have decided to be married this February 28 here at our Sawang Dandin Baptist Gospel Center, the home of Sawang Dandin Baptist Church.

You could say it was "picture perfect" as far as the decorations, the provision, program and the unity of the churches here to make this one a great wedding. One of my burdens for this our first truly Christian wedding was a example to be followed by our many young people who live in a culture which is quickly crumbling because of immorality and family breakdown. While we do not seek to appease the world in anything we do, we recognize that the Lord himself honored weddings and preformed his first miracle at a wedding in John 2 and turned a wedding that was heading for a disaster of not enough supply into a joyous occasion by his turning the water into wine. (Wine, by the way, in the Bible is, of course, sometimes simply the beverage made from the fruit of the grape and implies the joy of the Holy Spirit which was the presence of the Lord at that wedding. We do not ever condone the drinking of any social alcoholic drinking).

In John chapter 4 Jesus again puts emphasis on the institution of marriage as a holy commitment before God in convicting the woman at the well of her adultery because of His (God's) acknowledgement of the legal human binding wedding ceremony preformed by the family elders. In Matthew and the other Gospels, divorce is marked as sinful hardness of the human heart. All this points out that there is a universal human law from the days of the garden of Eden of the purity of the marriage institution. The Bible tells us that "Marriage is honorable among all," and thusly, we sought to honor God and Thai ideals in this wedding.

One of our burdens with many youth who have responded to the gospel is how to teach the principles of God regarding marriage. Old landmarks in Thai society are gone today with widespread immorality and family breakdown. But God has graciously chosen to provide us with a fine and good looking young couple who live above the world and chose to honor God in a wedding ceremony.
Many of the things done in this wedding were carefully chosen to communicate the message that those who chose purity and God's blessing would be rewarded. As Asians, they had a customary counting of the dowry, honoring parents especially in a traditional bowing down to their families of the bride and groom, seeking their blessing on their new life together. But there were some wonderful western traditional additions, such as Miss Kaew's snow white gown, emphasising purity, the unity candle which quenches the flame of life from their mothers hand to one new flame together which showed their new independent life together. There was a ring ceremony emphasising their love. We show the legal document in the wedding in a society which says, "Don't register the wedding because it is too hard to divorce." We believe a wedding should be a life time committment and make that the bottom line in the vows, the announcments and the message.

It has been our hope and we trust the Lord that this wedding will be a model of a dedicated Christian family for future weddings here of young people who choose to honor God, that these young people can also aspire to. We covet your prayer for these people who came and participated. It was heart warming to see the delight in the eyes of the youth who love this couple to see them married in a "Cinderella" wedding (as Gail calls it!).

It was a humbling blessing to see them sitting alone in their automobile for a season, as they prepared to leave for their days of honeymoon (provided for by designated gifts) taking a few moments for a season of prayer. We know that both were totally exhausted by the days leading up to the wedding with all the pressures to have everything just right. And it was truly one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen in Thailand. How blessed we were to be part of it.

No comments: