At the Chase Bank branch where I had established several church and personal accounts, I befriended the tellers and managers. Knowing I was a pastor, one of the tellers asked me to conduct the wedding for her and her fiancé. After several conversations I determined they were believers and agreed to do it. I met with them for counseling and to plan the ceremony. They chose Scriptures and prayers and songs to be sung. It was a beautiful wedding celebrated by family and friends, including her fellow employees.
A few weeks later the assistant manager approached me and told me how much she had appreciated the wedding and asked if I might conduct hers as well. They also were Christians, and once again I performed the wedding. Again, all the employees from the bank were invited. I used some of the same Scriptures, adding and changing a few things at the couple’s request. At the reception one of the other tellers approached me and introduced me to her fiancé. “We want you to do our wedding, too!” she gushed. She rattled on about all the things she loved, and once again I found myself booked to do a wedding. This time it was a beautiful garden wedding in a flowery backyard, and again her coworkers were invited. At the bank they teased me about getting hired as the bank’s chaplain and wedding planner.
Maddie attended all three weddings. She was the head teller. One morning she called me over and asked if I might also officiate at her wedding. “I know you want to meet with us before you agree to do the wedding. Would you like to come over for dinner Friday? You can meet my boyfriend, and we can talk.” Of course I agreed.
Over dinner she said, “Neither of us is Christian, but we wondered if you could do our wedding anyway and take out all the religious stuff?”
“I could,” I said, “but it will be an awfully short wedding. Almost the entire ceremony is taken from the Bible.”
“That’s not true,” she argued. “You quoted ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’, the ’60’s song by The Byrds. I love that song.”
“That song is taken from the book of Ecclesiastes,” I said with a laugh, opening my Bible to show her.
“What?” she shouted. “The Byrds stole that from the Bible?! I can’t believe it.” Her boyfriend, Zack, was equally shocked.
After they’d recovered, she said, “Well, I definitely want that to be read. It’s great. I also really liked the things you said about love. It was so beautiful it made me cry.”
I laughed. “That’s also from the Bible: 1 Corinthians 13.” Again I opened my Bible and showed them.
“Wow, that’s from the Bible, too. I did not know that.”
Zack nodded. “Me, neither.”
He added, “I really liked when you talked about a man leaving his mother and father. That hit me hard.”
Maddie agreed. “I loved that, too. I suppose that’s also in the Bible?”
I nodded. “Genesis 2.”
“All the stuff we loved is in the Bible. That’s hilarious. Who knew?”
“Well, can you at least not do the prayer at the end? We don’t want people thinking that we’re praying when we don’t believe.”
“I understand,” I said, “but would it be okay if I prayed for you? I’ll make sure people know it’s just me praying. I’d really love to ask God to bless your marriage.”
They thought for a moment and decided that would be fine.
I gave them a Bible for a wedding present.