This past weekend I performed my first wedding as an ordained person. It was an odd set of circumstances that brought me to it. BJ had been planning to do the wedding of this couple who are very loosely connected with the Open Door. They are friends of some people in the church. One week before the wedding BJ's youth director from his home church passed away, the memorial service was scheduled for the same day as the wedding. I agreed to do the wedding, actually I was quite excited. The couple was ok with it too, though I'm sure they wished the pastor whom they knew could perform their ceremony.
I've been ordained for about four months now, this was my first opportunity to do a wedding. There are only a few things that I do at the Open Door as an ordained person differently than I did pre-ordination. Of course I can do the sacraments, but in reality BJ usually does baptisms and the Lord's Supper, I'm usually busy with other things like leading the band. Weddings are the same way, most O.D. folks will ask their lead pastor to perform their wedding before they'll ask the assistant, just the way it is. I love it that I can be busy doing more missional things in the community, less traditional "pastor" roles. I'd say urban farming is not a traditional role for a PCUSA pastor. But I do miss out on some of the things I'd love to do more of, like baptisms and weddings. Anyway, this wedding fell into my lap just days before the ceremony. By the way, I was already going to be playing guitar for the wedding. I met the couple on Monday, planned things out over the next couple days, and married them on Saturday. I think there might have been five Christians at the ceremony, talk about an opportunity to share the gospel! I think I did it tactfully and in a way that directly connected with the couple and their love and life together. I do not think either of them would call themselves Christians or followers of Jesus. The people at the wedding were from different parts of the world, the bride was from Brazil and the groom from France. It was very strange to be identified as "the pastor" or even "the priest" by one very friendly Jewish couple. At the Open Door I'm just John, which is the way I like it most of the time. When you're the "pastor" at a wedding (or funeral) you have a specified role and people inherently give you leadership and voice. It was a new experience for me.
Everything in the wedding went fine (though I almost forget to let the bride put the ring on the groom's finger). Things were very well received, I don't think anyone there had ever been part of a wedding like the one we did on Saturday. One couple asked if they could recommend our church for their friends who wanted to get married. More opportunity to share the gospel with people who otherwise would not likely set foot inside a church.