I had the privilege of offering a prayer at my friends’ wedding last night. As I was saying a few words of introduction prior to the prayer, I quipped to the wedding couple, Michael and Stacey, that it’s difficult for me to do anything without making a theological statement. Below is the prayer I offered.
Lift up your heads. Unfold your hands. And, look around at the wonderful people you are sharing this moment with, especially Michael and Stacey.
God, we thank you for this beautiful day and this beautiful new family, Mike and Stacey Reed.
We also thank you for this meal that is set before us, and the honor to share in it with Mike and Stacey, since it is their first meal together as husband and wife.
God, you established the sharing of a meal as more than just replenishing our bodies with the necessary nutrition for the next few hours.
And we thank you that when we sit down to eat together, we are not only sharing food with one another, but a bit or ourselves as well.
This is why eating together is enjoyable and something to be cherished.
God, you gave us Jesus as an example for our lives, even how to share a meal.
We see that during his life time, Jesus showed us the importance of sharing a meal together. At the wedding feast in Cana, he allowed himself to be revealed as more than just a tradesman, but as your son, bearing your glory as he provided better wine, which was only moments before, water in stone vessels. That must have been a great party!
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he chose to eat with those whom he cared for, whether they be a high ranking religious leader or a street level outcast, that in his day would have been called “unclean.” By eating with them, he declared their dignity as your sons and daughters by cherishing them as individuals and enjoying the moments they shared together.
Lastly, when Jesus was preparing himself to go to the cross, he shared a last meal with his disciples. This last supper revealed your love for us with the bread being a symbol of Christ’s broken body and the wine as his shed blood, both for our healing and restoration and a reminder of your enduing covenant to be integrally involved with us in every aspect of our lives. For you, God, are most often found where you are least expected, even down to the simple and routine moments of life.
God, we know that when we sit down together to share a meal, we can trust that a few things can happen. We can learn a bit about one another as we allow ourselves to be known. We can experience a sense of the divine when we honor the dignity of the ones we’re with as your children. Lastly, we can be nourished in body, soul, and spirit as we take the time to allow this meal to be all that you intended it to be for us.
Now, as our stomachs are grumbling in anticipation for this wonderful meal prepared by Chef Cesar Alvarado, we again give you thanks for Mike and Stacey, their marriage, and this honor to enjoy with them their first meal as a husband and wife.
We pray this in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.