Mock weddings are increasing getting trendy in Malawi today. These weddings are used mainly for fundraising activities, especially, charity. Perhaps because of the aim behind mock weddings, we tend to switch off our biblical and theological antennas hence we don’t detect that something is wrong with this trend. I will not mince words: mock weddings are unbiblical and dishonoring to God. Please hear me out.
It is important here that we differentiate a wedding anniversary from a mock wedding. There are some married couples who on their wedding anniversary, say a decade, silver jubilee or golden jubilee, go to church and thank God for keeping them together. They then renew their marriage vows and go out to celebrate with family members, friends and others. I don’t have any problem with this and I don’t think it dishonors God.
However, I have a problem with those who on their wedding anniversary or any other day go to church and pretend as if they are not married and ask a pastor or a minister to officiate their wedding just as the pastor or the minister does with a fiancé (groom) and a fiancée (bride). After that the “newly-married couple” goes out to celebrate with family members, friends and others. This is what is called a mock wedding and indeed it is a mockery to God’s established institution of marriage. I don’t think God is pleased with this. Why am I saying so?
When we go back to creation, we find that God gave marriage (Genesis 2:21-24) as one of the three creation mandates. Others are labor (Genesis 2:15) and rest from labor (Genesis 2:1-3). This goes without saying, therefore, that marriage is very dear to God’s heart. That’s why God reminds us that he hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). In reference to marriage, God also says what he has put together let no one separate (Matthew 19:4- 6). The Bible goes on to liken marriage to the relationship between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22-32). All these references drive home one point namely: God values marriage very highly and it is dear to His heart hence marriage is holy or sacred.
Now should we take what is holy or what God values very highly and play around with like a cheap toy? Should we really take what is sacred or very dear to God’s heart and use it as a cheap tool of fundraising? God forbid!
Of all the institutions, the Church ought to know how sacred marriage is in God’s eyes hence it should reject and refuse any plans by man to dilute and cheapen what God regards in high esteem. Yet the reality on the ground is otherwise. Churches open their doors to conduct mock weddings. May God forgive and have mercy on us. I believe that we need to repent of this malpractice because if the truth be told a mock wedding is really a mockery to God’s established institution of marriage.
There has been silence on the blog for the past weeks. One main reason that can better explain the muteness is preparations and departure for studies in a land not my own, United States of America (USA).
Together with my family, I have temporarily moved from the land of my birth, Malawi, to Grand Rapids, Michigan to study for Masters of Arts in Religion (Emphasis: Systematic Theology) at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS).
One of the opening sentences to the International Student Manual for PRTS reads: “We know that God has brought you through many challenges to be with us.” This can’t be further from the truth. My preparations for studies have not been a piece of cake. Through the whole process, my understanding of God’s sovereignty has improved for the better, and I can confidently say like David: “If the Lord had not been on our side…” (you wouldn’t have been reading this post and I wouldn’t have written it either). The Malawian Gospel singing group, Ndirande Angilcan Voices, also put it better when they sang: “Akalemba Mulungu walemba basi” literally meaning “What God has determined to do, He will definitely do.”
For sure, this is not about me or my family but God alone who is the center of everything in heaven and earth. His ways are not our ways and they shall never be. I would like to thank Him for making my dream come true. He not only gave the dream but He also fulfilled it. Soli Deo Gloria! (To God alone be the glory)
I would like also to thank my parents, relations, in-laws and so many friends and work colleagues for standing up with me in prayer and encouraging and supporting me when the going got tough and I was about to throw in the towel. May God richly bless you. Like David again we can sing: “He who goes out weeping bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him,” (Psalm 126:6).
I will quote God’s Word recorded for us by David once more. Like this King of Israel I feel very much overwhelmed by what God has done for me and I can’t help it but wonder:
“Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far? And this is a small thing in your eyes, O God…And what more can (I) say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant. For your servant’s sake, O Lord and according to your own heart, you have done all this greatness…There is none like you, O LORD, and there is no God besides you” (1 Chronicles 17:14-20).
So, may all the saints join and help me sing “To God be the glory, great things He has done.” Fellow saints, lets also continue to remember each other in prayer. Seminary life just like any life can be hard at times but I pray that Christ alone will keep me going. Remember me in your prayers that God will also meet my needs and that of my family as I pray that he meets yours too.
Postscript: We got a warm and nice welcome in Grand Rapids when we arrived on August 2, 2013. Most people are friendly and more than willing to assist and help as we are settling. I have also noticed so many Reformed churches in this part of Michigan and that’s more blessings for me. Oh, what great things He has done!
“The cedars of Lebanon which He hath planted” Psalm 105:16
Lebanon’s cedars are emblematic of the Christian, in that they owe their planting entirely to the Lord. This is quite true of every child of God. He is not man-planted, nor self-planted, but God-planted. The mysterious hand of the divine Spirit dropped the living seed into a heart which He had himself prepared for its reception. Every true heir of heaven owns the great Husbandman as his planter.
Moreover, the cedars of Lebanon are not dependent upon man for their watering; they stand on the lofty rock, unmoistened by human irrigation; and yet our heavenly Father supplies them. Thus it is with the Christian who has learned to live by faith. He is independent of man, even in temporal things; for his continued maintenance he looks to the Lord his God, and to Him alone. The dew of heaven is his portion, and the God of heaven is his fountain.
Again, the cedars of Lebanon are not protected by any mortal power. They owe nothing to man for their preservation from stormy wind and tempest. They are God’s trees, kept and preserved by Him, and by Him alone. It is precisely the same with the Christian. He is not a hot-house plant, sheltered from temptation; he stands in the most exposed position; he has no shelter, no protection, except this, that the broad wings of the eternal God always cover the cedars which He Himself planted.
Like cedars, believers are full of sap, having vitality enough to be ever green, even amid winter’s snows.
Lastly, the flourishing and majestic condition of the cedar is to the praise of God only. The Lord, even the Lord alone has been everything unto the cedars, and therefore David very sweetly puts it in one of the psalms, “Praise you the Lord, fruitful trees and all cedars.” In the believer there is nothing that can magnify man, he is planted, nourished, and protected by the Lord’s own hand, and to Him let all the glory be ascribed.
Taken from “Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.