Pastors usually do not relish having a wedding the day after Christmas. 1987, 28 years ago was a year like 2015 in that Christmas was on Friday and St. Stephen’s Day fell the next day on Saturday. A wedding on Saturday meant there was little time to recover between the Christmas services and Sunday.
But in 1987, Cathy, our secretary at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Marshfield wanted to marry Steven on St. Stephen’s Day. Well, what could Bob Reinhardt and I do but accede to her wish. Christmas may be hectic for pastors and musicians, but it’s no less so for church secretaries. In a large congregation they have to turn out the multitude of bulletins required by the numerous worship services. Of course, in 1987 Cathy was preparing for a wedding. When tension mounted in the congregation or among the staff, Bob would say, “Merry Grimace.”
Bob and I did a dialogue sermon. I can’t remember what we said, but I think we gently reminded her and Steven of St. Stephen’s demise due to being stoned. Thus we did get, if not a pound of flesh, at least an ounce.
It turns out it’s my most memorable St. Stephen’s Day. As Bob said on Facebook today, “What times those were.”
It also turns out that St. Stephen’s Day is a good day for a wedding. A line from the entrance psalm, “For you are my Rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me.” Those are words which we are able to apply to any day of the year and to any occasion, even to weddings and marriage. The verse helps keep Christmas merry, even though we may want to grimace.
What’s more, in January we can look forward to accompanying Jesus to a wedding where he saved the reception by providing the best wine. Save January 17 on your calendar.