Oh Happy Day

My mind is awash with the emotions of a father following the weekend of his eldest daughter’s wedding. This past weekend my daughter Katie became Mrs. Brock Lacy. Katie is my second oldest of five children. We have three boys and two girls and Katie was the first of my two girls to get married. I hope that what I am about to write is more than just the musings of a proud father. I hope to convey an important message to everyone.

The Old Testament is full of analogies of God as the bridegroom and the people of Israel as the bride, and the New Testament tells us Jesus is the new bridegroom and the church is the bride. Of course we all know that Jesus performed his first miracle atthe wedding feast at Cana.Throughout human history the coming together as man and wife, blessed by Godhas been reason for great celebration.

We did indeed celebrate. God smiled down on Greenville, South Carolina with blue skies and a magnificent 73 degree spring day. Out at our mountain home thirty miles away, before leaving to go into town for the wedding day, I noticed that the very first blossoms were appearing on the spring flowers popping forth from the soil. It reminded me of the song “Sunrise Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof. In that song are the lyrics “seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers blossoming even as we gaze.” On this Saturday afternoon my little girl blossomed and became Brock’s new wife.

I had a chance to take my soon to be son in law out for lunch two days before the wedding. During lunch I explained to Brock how my wife and I had started a routine of praying for our children’s future spouses whileour children were still very little. I went on to explain that each night we would ask God to find just the right man for her. Then I told him this, “Brock this means that my wife and I have been praying for you ever since you were a tiny little boy long before we ever knew you.” I told him that we knew he was a special person the first time we met him, and I shared with him that I thought they clearly brought out the best in each other.

Brock comes from a family deeply entrenched in the Baptist Christian faith. Brock’s parents Jerry and Denise were very involved in their church. Brock is one of two children. Brock’s older brother Bradford was married last May. Unfortunately we never had the chance to meet Brock’s mother because she died of Cancer not long before Bradford’s wedding. We did however have the chance to attend her funeral and see the love of their friends and family and the depth of their strong Christian faith.

The bride of Christ is the Christian church and it is a diverse unity of all races, colors and ethnic backgrounds. My daughter’s wedding day brought that diversity together. Brock is black and my daughter is white. Brock and his family and friends are primarily of the Baptist denomination and Katie’s family and friends are predominantly Catholics. On this special day we all came together as one family of believers in Jesus Christ. Through Katie and Brock, and blessed by Jesus our families were united, and my wife and I knew our prayers for our daughter had been answered.

The wedding took placeat my daughter’s parish,a Catholic church that has served the black community of Greenville, SC for over 50 years and the music at the church brings to its services a strong southern African American influence. This means that we enjoyed a wedding ceremony with plenty of hand clapping and uplifting gospel music. But at the core of the service was Jesus Christ. Both Brock and Katie had committed to making this a marriage of three, with Jesus being the key third part of this new union.

My mind drifted this day to other lyrics from that same song, “Sunrise Sunset” a song I might mention that was song at my wedding over thirty seven years ago. “Is this the little girl I carried, is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older, When did they?” Yes for all of us time goes by so swiftly. It seems like just yesterday that my wife and I were the one’s getting married. Now I look back and realize that so many of our friends and family who celebrated with us have now gone on to their eternal home.

As I looked on at these two standing at the front of the church stating their vows I asked myself,” when did she get to be a beauty and when did he grow to be so tall? Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?” On this day, “they look so natural together just like two newlyweds should be.” Then I wondered “what words of wisdom can I give them, how can I help to ease their way” but I realized that “now they must learn from one another, day by day.”

The reception was a great celebration of family and friends. Family members who have known these two since birth were present. Siblings and friends of the parents of the bride and groom filled the reception hall. Young and old, new friends and old friends, black and white, Lacy and Pusateri, Baptist and Catholic all were blessed on this day to experience true love and joy. Mark 2:19 says this: “Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.” The bride and groom were there and Jesus was present in everyone this day and there was no fasting on this joyous occasion.

So much effort went on behind the scene for nearly a year to make this day special. But just like other big days, Christmas, or birthdays or days when out of town friends come to visit there is always the “day after.” There is the following day when the people have all left, and the out of town visitors have all returned home, and all that is left is to clean up the now lifeless hall where just hours before music played and the festivities were in full swing. With the festivities over, normal life, with all of the day to day concerns comes flooding in ready to crowd out the joy. For me there was a sense of sadness that it was over much too soon.

As I reflected back just one day after the big event I thought about some of the words that I shared during my toast to the new couple. In it I shared these words from John Denver’s song “Today”: A million tomorrow shall all pass away, ‘ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today. As I thought of these words and reflected on the events, I wiped away tears of joy.

There are some other lyrics contained in that same song that go like this:

You’ll know who I am by the songs that I sing.

I’ll feast at your table; I’ll sleep in your clover,

Who cares what tomorrow shall bring?

I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory,

I can’t live on promises winter to spring.

Today is my moment, now is my story,

I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing.

My friends, today is our moment and now is our hour. None of us can count on a tomorrow. Time flies by quickly. The lyrics say that they will know who we are by the song that we sing. We are Christians and the joy of simply being a Christian should exceed all of the other joys of life even including a wedding. The final song we sang as the wedding ceremony in the church concluded captured the real joy of this life. As the bride and groom made their way down the aisle those that were gathered together began to clap their hands to the beautiful song, OH HAPPY DAY.

As I stated above the excitement and joy of a special day can fade all too quickly. You and I however have a lasting joy, one that will be with us always. Our happy day isthat day that Jesus washed our sins away………Oh Happy Day! I am glad I could share some of our family’s joy with you. Now I hope you can make this day and all days special with the everlasting joy of Jesus Christ. This is what we heard as Brock and Katie walked out of mass.

Don’t stop without clicking this and watching this video! This is your happy day too!

Brian Pusateri
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