|Loganberry Inn Parlor, Fulton MO|
|Ivan Russell and Patricia Fern Shepherd|
He heard the invitation and moved quietly among the people to take his place. This was to be a wedding and how he loved weddings. He glanced around knowing they planned this wedding to be outdoor, but the heavy rains during the night forced it indoor. He smiled in approval as he glanced around the room, feeling the love these people had for the bridal couple and each other. No pouty attitudes over the change in location. His eyes fell on the photo near the window. He moved closer and saw it was of the groom's grandparents. He looked toward to Groom and wanted so badly to tell him how proud his grandparents were of him, how happy they were for this day.
He watched with interest as the procession started. Ah, the Grooms mother. He knew she had come to love the young bride, so her joy was twofold. Her son was getting married and she loved the new daughter. He had been with her the day she learned of her cancer, he felt her terror at the words. He knew her secret fear she would not live to see this day. But here she was. She was looking robust and happy. He smiled in approval as she proudly took her place in small group.
|Talon and Sara Leach|
One by one, young people stepped through the doorway. All from different walks of life, all with different goals, and struggles. But he knew each one of them. The maid of honor and the best man...now that is a story he thought. He chuckled at the memory of the Best Man getting brave enough to introduce his new wife to the family. His smile grew larger as he recalled how nervous the "tough marine" was about announcing the marriage.
The Bride stepped into the doorway with the groom's father. He loved how this family came together and opened their hearts to her. He looked lovingly at the Bride. His heart swelled as he thought over her life. "Oh my beloved," he thought, "I knew you would be beautiful. But today you are radiant ." He saw at the love in the face of Groom when he watched his Bride come around the corner. She walked to him and took the hand of her Groom. Her smile lit the room.
He settled into an open spot as the minister began to speak. He looked Pastor Jordon and nearly choked. He loved this minister, but he could hardly believe he was seeing him in a suit of all things! "I can't wait to tell his Grandfather." He laughed as he recalled the grandfather's face when he found out his grandson was preaching in shorts and a T shirt. But he didn't mind. They did not mind at all. They were quite fond of this man of God. He stopped for a moment and wished he could tell Pastor Jordon to hang on, for there was a wild ride to come. He glanced at the minister's wife in the corner. They had been so close to the Groom when he was a teenager, and loved him like a son. Speaking of sons, he shook his head and made a note to extend to her just a little more grace. Her three boys were going to be teenagers soon and he was NOT going to tell her the kinds of shenanigans they will pull.
Suddenly, he stopped. He looked over and realized that his dad and his best companion had walked into the room. They were invited too. Their eyes locked and they stepped as ONE, closer to the Bride and the Groom. Together, they drew in the young couple and listened as they spoke their vows to each other. They were excited for these two and could hardly wait to unfold the plans they had for them. They would work hard together but he knew they could do it.
They listened as they heard the Groom pledge his love and faithfulness to his Bride. This age old ritual was dear to them. It was the way they had always planned it to be. They moved aside as Paul and Janice came to put their arms around the Bride and Groom. His dad began to grin. Paul was a godly man, who had come forward to pray a marriage blessing prayer over the couple. Together with Paul and Janice, and the minister, they encircled this precious couple and blessed them.
They stood together, the father, the son and the companion. Together they heard the final words... by the authority invested in me as a minister of the gospel and according to the laws of this State. I do proclaim that they are husband and wife in the sight of God and man. Let all people here and everywhere recognize and respect this holy union, now and forever.
Together nodded, So be it.
They watched with joy as the young people were presented as husband and wife to their friends and family. They smiled at the antics of the children trying to get the attention of the bride. They felt the joy of the families celebrating. He wished he could stay for the celebrating, he REALLY enjoyed weddings you know. His Father nodded to him and together they walked away from the happy fellowship.
Oddly enough, people will remark about a gentle presence during the wedding. Some will claim there was a glow around the newly married couple during the ceremony. Several there will recognize the gentle presence and know exactly who was there. These guests were specially invited and welcomed.
In a distant place of an unknown location; in the massive throne room of the Father; they flip through the heavy pages until they reach this couple's legacy page. It was done. The marriage had taken place, the Father had been invited and had blessed their union. With ceremony, the Father wrote across these ancient pages ...