The following is fictitious.
The two men climbed out of their Jaguar XJ, one of the finest machines on the road. When it came to doing anything, Ted was committed to the best. This is why he wasn’t the most impressed with the church building they were approaching. It was cute and quaint, but he had been looking for a church that was much more lavish. This one seemed like it would actually fit better in a small town, not a thriving metropolis where they lived.
Fred reached the door first. He was truly looking forward to finding the right place for their wedding and this building looked like it was the one. He knocked on the door, loud enough so it could be heard inside the building. A few moments passed, and he knocked again, this time louder. They heard the sound of feet approaching, then heard the door being unlocked. It opened.
The pastor stood there for a second with a surprised look on his face. He had been waiting for a couple that needed marriage counseling and was surprised to see the two men standing there. He regretted not looking through the peep hole, for the moment he saw the two men, he knew exactly where this was going.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes,” said Fred. “We were wondering if you rented out your building or allowed other people to use it for weddings.”
The pastor’s heart sunk. Up until this point in his four years as a pastor, he avoided this encounter. But now, it was here on the doorstep. Since the elders of the church would not adopt a policy on weddings, he knew that he, nor the church had any legal standing to turn the two men away. He knew that since he had performed weddings for couples outside of the membership of the church, he would also be required by state law to perform this couple’s wedding. The church did have a policy about weddings, “their building, their pastor.” The pastor hated that policy.
“We have in the past,” he said. “We do have a policy though that if you choose to have a wedding here, that I have to officiate it.”
The pastor was hoping to say something to discourage them. “You must also understand that I do not believe in marriage between two men or two women.”
At this point, Ted grew red in the face. “How dare you! We are good people. How dare you insinuate that we cannot get married.”
The pastor tried to calm him down. “I’m telling you my convictions sir, you may not like them, but I still have the right to my convictions. I did not say I would not do your wedding. I know the laws of this state, if I say ‘no’ we could lose our building and a lot more. But I’m going to be upfront with you, I will not call your ceremony a marriage, I will not pronounce you as husband and husband, husband and wife, or wife and wife. For it is my conviction that a marriage is between a man and a woman as given to us by God and confirmed by Jesus Christ.”
The sweat from Ted’s face was running down his shirt. His temper was about to unload when Fred took his hand to calm him down. “It’s OK Ted. He said he would do the ceremony.”
The pastor lost all hope at hearing those words. He was trying to discourage them, trying to be honest with them about what he could and could not say. Even given his strong, biblical convictions, he knew that saying what he had to say, would be the toughest thing he was ever called upon to do as a pastor. He would be standing against the culture, the state, the federal government and whatever guests these two men chose to invite to their ceremony.
“Listen, because of state law, I cannot turn you away. But please understand that I will not say what you want me to say given that it goes against my beliefs as a Christian.”
Ted lost control. “You better do our wedding the way we want it done. I will sue you into the next life if you so much as utter one unpleasant word. Do you understand me? I’m not letting you get out of this so easily. One slip up and I will drag you to court that day.”
The pastor knew he had no choice. He could not turn them away, but he also knew, he could not call what was taking place a wedding, blessed by a holy and just God. He agreed to perform the ceremony.
The Wedding Day
As the wedding day approached, the pastor began to lose sleep. He felt the weight of the sin before him like never before. He prayed and buried himself in the word and realized how fortunate he had been over the past four years. The LORD, sovereign of all, had blessed him with four years of crisis-free ministry. But no longer. The pastor knew that his LORD had ordained what was before him and he was afraid he would fall into weakness, suppress the truth in unrighteousness and go the way of Balam. This was the last thing he wanted. He wanted to stand strong and speak the truth. He wanted to declare what these men needed the most. He wanted them to understand that God did not approve of their vile union even if it was brought about in a church. But he also knew that there were forces at work much greater than his own feeble desires.
He resolved to be a vessel used by the LORD and prayed for the filling of the Holy Spirit. It would be by God’s grace alone that he did what was right in the LORD’s eyes, as opposed to what so many of his fellows pastors had done, doing what is right in man’s eyes.
The pastor led Ted out of the side room into the sanctuary. Fred would be led down the aisle by no less than his own mother, given his father had abdicated his responsibility in Fred’s life so many years before. The entire ordeal was causing the pastor to become nauseated, but he pressed on. “What a mockery,” he thought. “How in the world did it ever come to this?“
The three men stood at their positions at the altar. To make it even more of a spectacle, Fred was wearing a white dress. The pastor was tempted to walk out and take his chances in the courts. Just at the greatest moment of temptation came to turn and walk out, he felt the Spirit telling him to press on. The Spirit calmed his nerves.
“Friends, and family,” the pastor began. “We are gathered here today, in the hopes of bringing about a union that will be filled with joy and peace for these two men. But as one called by Jesus Christ, King of kings, and Lord of lords, I cannot in good conscience admit that any such thing will happen.
“We stand here because our country’s greatest court has declared that we could do just this. But there is a higher court than this one. The higher court is occupied by only One judge, and He judges the hearts and intents of all mankind. He judges justly. He is the One who gave us marriage in the beginning. He is the One that confirmed it to us in His earthly ministry, saying that marriage is between one man and one woman. It is His prerogative to define marriage for mankind, for we are subjects to His Law.
“While we may say the words of a husband and wife, this is not a marriage. It cannot be. It can no more be a marriage than a leopard shed it’s spots. A marriage, by God’s declaration, is between one man and one woman. In fact, God has declared unions between two men, and two women, to be an abomination before Him. This is not because He is unloving, but because these unions warp the image of God in us. We are more than just animals higher up on the evolutionary chain, we are made in HIS image, and we warp that image when we commit to such unions. We sin against God.
“To say all this, I realize that I cannot in good conscience, continue on in this charade. This is not a marriage, this is unholy, and every one of us, from the youngest to the oldest needs to repent and turn from our own sinful way, trusting in Christ for salvation. Only Christ can save us from our wicked…”
The pastor was unable to finish the sentence. Fred, who grew angrier with each word, exploded like a brute beast and attacked the pastor. He hit him, not with his fist, but with the full weight of his forearm, leveling the pastor on the floor. He jumped on him and continued to pound him, screaming profanities to the point that his saliva was frothing from his mouth.
The pastor was only vaguely aware he had been attacked. He could feel the blows to his head and realized he was on the floor with someone on top of him. He kept thinking, “will someone help me?” But no one came to his aide. Then, to his surprise, he heard what he thought was chanting. The people were chanting, “Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!”
The chanting faded along with everything else.
It was quiet, like a quiet he had never experienced before, and he had complete peace. The worries that so plagued him were gone. He felt an inexpressible joy and he opened his eyes to a beauty and wonder that he had never experienced in life and someone spoke to him. “No,” he thought, “that isn’t someone. That is my LORD.”
Standing before him in radiant beauty was the LORD, who simply said, “Well done good and faithful servant!”