Oh, Happy Day

For my Toccoa friends, I will be at the Currahee Military Museum this Friday, Oct. 6 from 1-5. I’ll have all my books, especially my new middle grade book, In Search of the Painted Bunting, (Vietnam era) as well as art prints and notecards. I look forward to seeing you!!!

Jerry officiated at a wedding recently which turned out to be one of the most joyous occasions we’ve had the privilege to be part of in recent years.

Held outside at a botanical garden, butterflies floated above our heads and at one point before the ceremony, a pipe vine swallowtail lit in the exact spot where the bride and groom would stand. It flapped its wings, rose, and swirled aloft as the string quartet played Bach making it feel like a foretaste of heaven.

This sweet wedding made me think of other weddings through the years—some of them with funny stories.

At Jerry’s first wedding just after he graduated from seminary, he was nervous as anyone would be. It was in a big church with many attendees. When it came time to ask who gave the bride in marriage, he mixed up the words a bit and said, “Who gives this man to be married to this woman?”

Without missing a beat, the bride’s father said, “His mother and I.”

Then there was the one when a groomsmen must have done what we always warn against—he locked his knees. Out he went right in the middle of the service. Realizing what happened, two groomsmen next to him picked him up, carried him out, and then returned. The ceremony continued.

And my all-time favorite funny story which wasn’t so funny at the time, at least at first. I was on a field trip to Lookout Mountain, Tennessee with my son’s Boy Scout Troup when Jerry’s number lit up on my phone. I thought it strange as it was about time for a wedding he was officiating. When I answered, his voice sounded panicked. “Pray,” he said. “The bride is missing.” Of course, the movie Runaway Bride flitted through my mind, and I wondered if she had gotten cold feet and hopped on a FedEx truck or something. A search party was dispersed to find her. 

They found her all right—asleep. She’d stayed up late in the night working on favors for the reception, forgotten to set an alarm, and fell asleep. Happily, Jerry Varnado was at the helm, and he provided funny anecdotes for the wedding guests until the bride could arrive and get dressed for the ceremony.

But my very favorite wedding story is one that has not happened yet. It is not a funny story, but it will be joyous. “'Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready’” (Revelation 19 6-7).

One day, one amazing, wonderful day, those who love the Lord will be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And I wonder if on that day, we will sing a song that the daughter of friends of ours chose to exit her wedding ceremony on (another ceremony  which strongly reminded me of heaven), “Oh happy day, oh happy day, when Jesus washed, oh when he washed my sins away. Oh, happy day.”

We are grateful the experience of this recent wedding once again keeps us looking forward to a time when there will be no more tears, no more death, no more pain, everything will be made new, and we will dwell with the Lord forever.

And to that we say, “Oh happy day!!!”

Related: A Wedding and A Little Bit of Heaven