Renewing Your Vows
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Communion Meditations (2013)

Renewing Your Vows

Originally scheduled for March 31

We recently attended the celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary. The couple doing the celebrating did not actually give the celebration; their kids got together and invited everyone they knew to a party to celebrate the occasion. As a part of this celebration, the happy couple took the time to renew their wedding vows in front of all of us. It’s an interesting comparison; the wedding and the renewal.

We had lots of pictures of the original wedding. Like many such things, it was an elaborate affair. It was full of the usual bridesmaids in symmetrical dresses, the bride in a flowing white creation and of course the gentleman in tuxedos. The pictures give you a sense of how elaborate the wedding is. If you look at the faces in the pictures you will see something else: anticipation. You could see this young couple eager to be married, looking forward with great hopes and desires — and just a touch of that at a worry that says, “you know, I’ve never done this before.” It’s a feeling most brides and grooms experience. And like all weddings, there were witnesses — in this case, a church full of them. We invite all these friends because we want to share our happiness and joy; but we also invite them to be our witnesses, testifying to the seriousness with which we took our vows.

The renewal of those rows was quite a contrast. Where the original wedding was elaborate, the renewal was simple. Nobody wore tuxedo; the bride wore comfortable shoes. It was just two people who were so obviously happy with each other standing up and saying, “yes, I would do it again.” The anticipation of the wedding day has been replaced by the calm assurance that comes with experience.

But like the original wedding day, this day was packed with witnesses — witnesses who were there to share the joy, but also to celebrate the fact that 50 years later their commitment to each other is even more unshakable.

We sometimes forget that one of the most common metaphors for the church is that she is the bride of Christ. If I might make a parallel, baptism is the closest thing we have too wedding ceremony. We do it only once. If your mind can go back so far, do you not recall the anticipation that came with it? You could know what being a Christian was really like unto you, yourself, experienced it. But you look forward to it with anticipation. If you had the chance, you probably someone family and friends to be the witnesses of this happy occasion. Baptism is like a wedding.

Communion is like the renewal of your wedding vows. Where baptism involves a fair amount of ceremony, communion is taken in a simple and low-key manner. You do it with the calm assurance of someone who had is an experienced Christian, confident in the Lord’s care and blessing. Baptism looks forward to the future; communion looks back. Communion looks back to the sacrifice on the cross which made your relationship with God possible. But like the wedding vow renewal, we still have witnesses. Communion is a public ceremony so that all might see that you are still committed to Christ.

So as we take communion together, let us look back to that sacrifice. Let us see Christ on the cross, giving body and blood for our sake. But let us also remember our relationship with him and in taking communion proclaim that we are still committed to the cause of Christ. Yes, we would do it again.

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