It was Saturday evening. A large group of well-wishers looked on as the blushing bride walked down a grassy lane, and a nervous groom crooned the words from a popular love song.

When bride and groom met at the altar, the turned around and waited as their nine children came up the aisle with their spouses.

<record scratch>

Wait…what?

It’s true, the couple in question has been married for fifty years. Shortly after signing the papers at the Justice of the Peace in a small town in the interior of Maranhão, Pedro and Rosa came to the capital city and began the task of raising a family. One of Rosa’s great desires – to have a beautiful religious ceremony, was put on hold.

For half a century.

As the fifty-year mark approached, Rosa, now a believer and active member of our church, began to talk about a religious ceremony. Her husband was ok with the idea, but it had to be “in front of a padre” – a Catholic priest.

This posed a problem…but only until the Holy Spirit got a hold of Pedro and he was converted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now all signs were “go” for the wedding. And it was one of the most beautiful events I have ever had the privilege of officiating.

Pedro coming down the aisle, escorted by his daughter.

Pedro sings as Rosa comes down the aisle.

Rosa, escorted by her father.

Rosa’s father gives away the bride.

The couple awaits the arrival of their children.

The recessional. Blushing bride and groom, followed by their friends and children.

The Ebenezer congregation was there in force. These are some of the attendees from our church.

Charged not only with the vows, but with giving a message to those gathered, I compared this wedding – legalized in 1969, celebrated in 2019, to another wedding celebration, this one legalized two-thousand years ago, and yet to be celebrated.

As a bonus, I also got to break out the saxophone and play a little number as part of the ceremony.

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