Weddings: Real, Imagined, and Yet to Come

Jim and Pam got married this week on The Office.

Some thoughts on the wedding.

If you saw the episode you know what is coming. Jim and Pam's Office mates hijack their wedding by imitating Jill and Kevin's wedding which became, and remains, a YouTube sensation.

Here is that real life video:

This is what I love about that video. The eschaton is often compared to a wedding, the wedding of the Lamb with the church. And if you are like me, and have been to a few weddings, that metaphor is kind of depressing. Our modern American ceremonies don't seem to capture the eschatological joy the biblical writers were aiming for. But I think Jill and Kevin's wedding comes very close. That is an eschatological wedding!

Following suit, here's what The Office did with their wedding:

Theologically, I love The Office take on this. First, it captures the eschatological joy of Kevin and Jill's wedding. But more than this, I love how it's full of freaks. All these odd, strange and weird people from the lives of Jim and Pam. I love the messy, inclusive vision it presents. It's joyous but a bit, well, unruly given the kinds of people involved.

The most important point, for me, about The Office wedding is how Jim and Pam figure out a way to give it away to their friends. The wedding is no longer for them, but for their friends, for those invited to the wedding as guests. Secure in their marriage on the boat Pam and Jim are free to give the ceremony away.

I think there is an important lesson here for the church. Too often the ceremony, ritual and life of the church is for us. And, as a consequence, the life of the church is often dry, uninspired and lacking spontaneous joy. Worse, it is inhospitable. The church doesn't give itself away to welcome others. The life of the church is for the church, not for the world. But it is not supposed to be that way. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer has said, "The church is the church only when it exists for others."

So what might it mean if the church, like Pam and Jim, gave her life and ceremony away for the sake of the world?

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