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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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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