To describe the morning, a little background: a couple with some bad relationships behind them and who were not married began to attend church. They brought their two young sons with them. They were looking for “something.” They began slowly to move to the front of the sanctuary, increasingly eager to hear the gospel taught and applied. They got involved in various programs and she brought her mother (who eventually was baptized). Some wondered what we were to do as they came to faith in Christ but were still unmarried. I quietly put the word out: the Holy Spirit has drawn them thus far, let us see what He will do. Let us not push. In this case the strategy paid off.
This couple needed to move out of town for a job opportunity and this change crystallized in their hearts what they wanted to do. We had only a couple of weeks to arrange it all, so we decided on their last Sunday to have them exchange several commitments. We began the service with a ten minute marriage ceremony. Lots of tears of joy already, since many in the congregation had come to love them dearly. Then, the couple and I prepared ourselves so that, in the middle of the service, they could both be baptized. Another change of clothes and I got to preach. (I don’t remember that part of the service!) Finally, near the end of the service we welcomed the couple into membership, assuring them of our continued support as they moved for the new job. Time pressure was a factor in causing us to put all the commitments into one service. However, it turned out to be a glorious morning testifying to God’s gentle work of redemption in Christ.
Come to think of it: the Scriptures tell us that it is for this very reason that Christ was born. . .