The Reception in the Garden

Before Robert at Botanic Gardens

The Reception in the Garden

The guests arrive, some alone, others as couples, and still more by families.  They have come for a special occasion, one that continues to bring me both a sense of fulfillment as well as much thanksgiving.  These dear friends, neighbors, and co-workers are coming to help us celebrate a gift from God.  Most of all, I am aware that God Himself is present, to bless us and to glorify Himself.

After many years of single celibacy, God graciously brought a dear wife into my life.  I trust that God had His own wise reasons for withholding a dear companion for all of my adult life.  Perhaps I will not know fully the reason for this delay until one day I dwell with Him in a Better Land.  But now, by His grace, God has brought dear Moni and me together.  From different cultures, different languages, different countries, and even different continents, God has united us as one.  It has been exactly three weeks since we married in my mother’s backyard in a small community of Western Pennsylvania.  It was such a delightful time, with the blessing of God and the support and blessing of family and a few friends in that little town of my childhood.

After a wedding trip to the Niagara Falls area of New York and a few days in Beaver Bend State Park of Oklahoma, we returned to Texas.  Now, after a week at home, we have gathered for a special celebration in Fort Worth where I have spent the latter half of my life.  It is a perfect location–in the Foster Garden portion of the Botanic Gardens.  Not far away is the little waterfalls, sparkling in the summer sun.  The many kinds of colorful flowers, both beautiful and fragrant, lie very close to where we have gathered.  We are standing in the grass, beneath the shade of a large tree with overhanging branches.  Although it is quite hot–about 100 degrees–it is bearable since the shade protects us from the burning sun.  All of the guests also have found places in the shade.  Many stand here and there, while a few others sit on blankets in the grass.  About eight people sing Christian hymns and sweet love songs as the others assemble.

As we wait for the simple but deeply significant ceremony to begin, I feel grateful for every person who chose to attend and give their support.  I am grateful for the opportunity to make some impact on the lives of about fifty people, some of whom do not profess to be Christians.  I am thankful that this event can be a witness to the world that a good, pure, and godly love can be expressed in the midst of a very dark and immoral world.  And I am especially filled with joy that God has blessed me with my dear Moni, the woman of my dreams.

The songs, the prayers, and the words of commitment that Moni and I speak to each other–all of this glorifies the God who brought us together, by His grace and providence, and gave such a lovely and memorable day like this.  I am blessed indeed!

After the gathering in this natural wonderland, Moni and I proceed to walk to the reception room, with the guests following.  We enter the dining room that has been simply arranged with tables and chairs.

Photo--2006--Reception, in the room

The Reception in the Garden

The singers raise their voices while the others enter.  A friend speaks briefly about the meaning of marriage.  The people are offered simple food.  Any of the guests are invited to rise and speak.  Moni and I join in an unusual but significant ceremony–washing each other’s feet, symbolizing our commitment to lovingly serve and care for one another (see John 13:3-17).  As the gathering continues, I am so aware of my Moni’s presence and the blessing it is to have her as my wife.  God has been gracious and we are so blessed.

During the gathering in the park, Moni released a white dove that had symbolic value.

Photo--2006--Reception, with dove

The reception in the Garden

 

Richard Hollerman

 

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