Eugene Cho

weddings and communion

It’s that time of the year.  With 81% of our church being single, you can imagine that we have our share of weddings  – particularly during the beautiful summers of Seattle. 

It’s a great privilege for me but at times, it’s pretty overwhelming on my schedule which is why I tell couples from the outset that I can’t attend the wedding rehearsals.  Eventually, I know that the other pastors will be asked to officiate [and have been asked] as congregrants form more intimate relationships with other pastors.  In addition, there’s a very good chance that my family and I will be taking a three month sabbatical next summer.  But I digress…

About 10 days ago [7.07.2007], I officiated a wedding for Mike and Grace at Sunset Hill Park – overlooking an incredible view of the Puget Sound [incredible photos courtesy of HageCreative Photography].  The picture below pretty much sums up how perfect the day was…

hage1.jpg

Well, it’s now time for another wedding.  I am now writing this from Sunriver, Oregon to officiate Karl Peter and Rachel E.’s wedding.  Remind me next time to figure out exactly where these locations are before I commit.  This was a seven hour drive!  Imagine that with three young children.  But, we’re now here, excited and privileged to celebrate their wedding later today.

As a pastor, my encouragement to couples as they plan their wedding is to realize that the ultimate goal of the wedding is to not put on a good show.  It pains me to see couples or families spend an exorbitant amount of money [and some that actually decide to go into debt] to put on some fancy wedding.  You don’t need to impress anyone.  Take a shower; Show up; honor your parents and families; get some decent food; get some good wine and cheap beer is OK too, and enjoy and rejoice with your guests.  Finally, if you’re a Christian, the wedding is foremost, a worship service and celebration.  When it’s all said and done: a couple gathers together with family and friends to come into the presence of the Triune God to gather, to be encouraged [and to exchange their vows] and to be sent forth with purpose. 

More couples are now requesting communion to be served at their weddings which I am VERY happy and privileged to administer.  To my recollection, while no one has requested communion as a ‘Hey, can I check that box on the wedding menu because that would be a cool thing to do,’ most choose to have communion privately as a couple and thus, to have a “closed communion.”  While uncomfortable, I’ve basically acquiesced in the past – but no more.  After wrestling with this off and on over the years, conversations and reading other pastors’ thought on the issue and praying through it, I’m convicted that Communion was never intended to be served for only a few or a couple even on their special Wedding Day – all while the invitation is not open to others. 

hage2.jpg

So, yes, it would be a great joy to administer Communion at your wedding.  But no, I will not only serve you – no matter how great you guys look.  If communion is to be administered, the Table and Invitation must be made open and available to all.  Congratulations and blessings to those who are getting married in the coming months. 

Filed under: marriage, seattle

13 Responses

  1. don says:

    Eugene;
    Thanks for taking this concern one more level. I appreciate the way you are wrestling with the pastoral realities.

  2. Blake says:

    Snazzy suit. 🙂 You’ve got to be the most style-conscious pastor I’ve ever met.

    I like your idea about doing an open communion at weddings. This is a new concept to me, and though I’m a ways from getting married (kinda gotta find a girl first) I think this is something I’d like to have at my wedding. It just better not become wedding-cliche first. 😉

  3. Dennis says:

    Pastor Eugene,
    Thanks for your thoughtful reflections on this issue as well. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy Quest so much. It has a high regards for the sacraments but also a high view of grace and accessibility.

  4. leah says:

    we’re planning on the open table. we’ll just have to make sure there’s enough bread and wine on the fourth…thanks for agreeing to the commute to the eastside!

  5. m@ says:

    81 percent?? Huh….

    Bachelor ’til the rapture, baby! 🙂

  6. e cho says:

    blake: “most style conscious?”

    maybe it’s the wife and her influence. as for my style, you’d be amazed what stuff you can find at goodwill. save your money.

  7. chad says:

    great words! i don’t know about “cheap” beer though!

  8. e cho says:

    Chad,

    I was thinking that if you invited Questers to your wedding, you gonna go beer bankrupt very very soon. While not drunkards, we have some guzzlers and while many want to be like Jesus, we have yet to find someone who can replicate the miracle at the wedding in Cana.

  9. Blake says:

    PE: Yeah, you’re probably right. Gotta be the wife. 😉

    Chad: I gotta agree with PE. Unless you’ve got the hook-ups to some micro-brewery and can get the goods for a cheap price, anything other than cheap beer at a Quest wedding would end up being prohibitively expensive. My own love for beer is probably why I haven’t been invited to too many quest weddings… I’d drain the couple’s wallets! 😉

  10. m@ says:

    Secret Tip: Two Buck Chuck is a wedding planner’s best friend. 🙂

  11. thanks for the link to my work. always enjoyable to read you thoughts. glad you never want to stop wrestling with you calling!

  12. Tracy says:

    Preach on P.E.
    Big smiles…

  13. Sarah H. says:

    I’m glad you wrote about this. We thought about having communion at our wedding, but our pastor said he would only do it if we served it to everyone. That made me realize that it is a communal celebration, for all. I hope Karl-Peter and Rachel’s wedding was fun for you. I’m sorry I missed it, but traveling wasn’t an option for me then. God Bless.

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One Day’s Wages

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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