A powerful antidote to our national deficit in belief (The Chipman wedding)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

There are a million reasons I like to write about weddings. They are fun, yes, full with beautiful people and festive spirits. Everything is photo-perfect. The venue and the food and the atmosphere are always first class (“The best of the best of the best, sir, with honors”).

People tell great stories and the air is always redolent with promise, with goodwill, with encouragement, and belief.

Yes, there it is, the crown jewel of why weddings are so great. It’s the belief, it’s the idealism, it’s the promise. It’s the hope.

Weddings are the best because they have so much about them that speaks to hope. I guess I am a sucker for a room full of young people believing in promise, and making lifetime commitments grounded in hope.

Such was the case this weekend, at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, Virginia, and then out at the Army Navy Country Club.

But I’m not talking about blind hope, or wishful thinking snatched out of the air like some prize at a fair. The nature of real hope rests in something foundational, something so real it anchors entire nations and religions; it’s the basis of faith, and commitment, and faithfulness.

If you don’t know what I am talking about then it might help to meet our friends the Chipmans. Dana and Karen, along with their three children, were part of our church in Brandon at a pivotal and beautiful time. They are the kind of people who, when you spend time with them, make you believe that everything is going to be okay, that goodness and light will win out over darkness, and that there absolutely will be a better tomorrow because, well, people like the Chipmans exist and that kind of light shines with compelling truth and real power.

This weekend their daughter Meredith married a young man, Chris, and the event was literally saturated with the kind of hope that I have been talking about, the kind of belief this world needs. You could feel it; you could taste it; you could anticipate it.

I cannot overemphasize the critical importance of the call of hope in the making of a life that works, and in the building of not only individual families but our collective life together as a nation.

This is what I heard and saw in Saturday’s wedding. I heard the articulation of what hope is via the scriptures, I heard Chris and Meredith commit themselves to live into hope – together, and I saw a church full of good people stand as witnesses to what is possible, because (as Jesus said in Mark 9:23) “All things are possible for those that believe.”

I think that in this nation, at this moment, we are experiencing a deficit in belief. So maybe this is why the wedding at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House was so good for me, and so beautiful, because it not only encouraged me in my belief, it made a loud splash of purposeful belief that gives me hope for the future too.

Real hope, the kind that reminds me, again, that all things are possible. – DEREK

more pics in a couple of days….

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