A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A John Wesley Birthday & Wedding Celebration - June 28, 2014

[Naomi & Aaron united in marriage on June 28, 2014. United Methodist pastors, Rev. Kim Armentrout & Rev. Mark Putman officiated.]

My daughter could have chosen any of the 365 days for her wedding day and she chose a day that is near and dear to my heart. She chose to get married on June 28 which just so happens to be the birthday anniversary of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

Since she knows how much I admire John Wesley, she was not at all pleased when I brought this to her attention. She shrugged her shoulders and gave out a heavy sigh.  "Oh dad, this means you're going to make my wedding day all about John Wesley and not about me!"

Visions of John Wesley bobblehead wedding reception centerpieces were dancing through my head.Maybe we could begin the wedding ceremony with a Charles Wesley hymn sing. The wedding homily could be about how to avoid Wesley's love life mistakes which were many. At the very least, I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle while while wearing 1700's Anglican clergy vestments. What if instead of a wedding cake, we had a birthday cake with 311 candles on it for Wesley's birthday?

The truth is that none of those things took place on my daughter's special day. It was however, a thoroughly United Methodist wedding celebration. Two wonderful United Methodist pastors who have close connections with both sides of the family officiated at the service. My brother did buy me a John Wesley bobblehead for the occasion. I was also able to sneak in Wesley's most famous quote toward the end of my wedding reception toast to the bride and groom.

"Let's raise our glasses to Naomi and Aaron. May your hearts always be strangely warmed!"

John Wesley's birthday anniversary has always been a day for me to remember key themes of Wesley's theology, These include the importance of moving onto perfection, utilizing the quadrilateral in the study of scripture, having an assurance that we belong to Christ, celebrating God's prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace, and combining personal piety with works of mercy.

I will continue to celebrate John Wesley's birthday anniversary every year on June 28. From now on, this date takes on a much greater meaning for me. It's when I walked my beautiful daughter down the aisle to get married to a wonderful man.

Congratulations, Aaron and Naomi!

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