Christmas is only three days away! Hold on tight as we near the climax of “God’s Love Story”!
Each year, my son John offers a theme in his weekly reports from Rockville, MD. One year each letter to family offered a new word to learn, another year there were jokes each week. This year there is a favorite hymn mentioned in each letter. Do you have a favorite hymn? My mother had one.
On April 28, 1942…my father wrote, “I had to laugh at the reason we aren’t having the Lohengrin wedding march. I always thought it was rather nice, but Joan tells me that Aunt Bess doesn’t like the way the story turns out!! However I shall be just as happy with a hymn for her entrance though I’ve never heard of it being done before.”
After reading this letter, I had to do some research. The traditional wedding march (think, “Here Comes the Bride”) was originally from the Lohengrin opera by Richard Wagner. Because Wagner’s work did not honor a bride’s trip to a Christian altar but was sung to the pagan bride as she was escorted to her bridal chamber, the Catholic church discouraged the music’s use in church weddings.
In addition, the story of the bride and groom ends in typical Wagnerian tragedy rather than happily ever after. Thus, my mother requested that she might process instead to the music of a familiar hymn, something unusual at that time but she started a tradition that I followed in my own wedding.
Newlyweds do not have guarantees about how their marriage will turn out. Some marriages are joyful, but others often end in tragedy or divorce. Thankfully, we know how the story for believers comes out…and it is no tragedy! In Revelation 21:4, at the wedding supper of the Lamb, we learn that the Lord “will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Now listen to the hymn my mother chose: “For the Beauty of the Earth,” including its verse about human love….
Like most people I never thought to use a hymn for the wedding processional! What a lovely, meaningful hymn your mother chose.