Our daughter is getting married in just a couple of weeks. The usual crazy long to-do list is crazier and longer, and at the end of each day there are still more things listed under "to do" than "taaa-daaaa". (You have to sing that last word for maximum effect.)
One of the "taaaa-daaaas" for the upcoming wedding is that our sister church pastor from El Salvador is coming. A few months ago, when our son got married, our sister pastor was unable to share that wedding celebration with us because the US government was holding his passport and visa until a background check could be completed. That took about three months longer than we expected. Those three months coincided with a deluge of rain which caused loss of life, homes, livelihood and crops in El Salvador. Our sister pastor works with his national church to coordinate relief efforts in the wake of disasters. We were all disappointed and frustrated with the visitor visa process which prevented us from being together for the wedding, yet we also wonder about the mysterious ways in which God's timing is wiser than our own.
So...as luck would have it, we have another wedding! (Thank you, children.) Our daughter's wedding will be held on March 24th. In El Salvador, of course, this is a day of pilgrimage and celebration and honor in memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero. In our sister church community, each March 24th is recognized as the anniversary of the founding of the community, beginning at 3:00 am with fireworks and music and schuco and worship and a pilgrimage through the community. We wondered if our sister church pastor would or could be absent from such an important time in his own community, so we hesitated a bit to ask. He told us, "it is on his heart to come to the wedding" and so, with new visa in hand, he is coming to the wedding.
While working on the arrangements for our daughter's wedding, I have been remembering a wedding which took place eleven years ago in El Salvador. We had been invited by the bride and groom to come, and so we did. A few hours before the wedding, the bride's family swept out the church, and taped up palm branches, white flowers and white balloons. The bride rented a dress, and two hours before the ceremony her mom did some quick alterations. Just an hour before, my friend and I hopped in a micro-bus with the bride to ride into Apopa to get a wedding cake. The bishop came to perform the ceremony, which was one part of a marathon worship which included a full communion service, baptisms and confirmations. My friend and her husband stood up as padrinos for the young couple, at one point carefully winding a white lasso around the bride and groom as the two were joined together in marriage. The reception included food and dancing, and a few photos of the shy young couple.
What a fantastic celebration March 24th will be...with two grand fiestas happening simultaneously. What fun we will have together, sharing photos and stories on Facebook and when we visit together. How beautiful it is that our sister church relationship is rooted in our identity as children of God, one great family, so that our weddings, our anniversaries, our life moments are celebrated together.