“Two people are better off then one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a tripe-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)
When I saw this picture I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but as I pondered the imagery of three people’s hands, I came to believe it symbolized the verse from Ecclesiastes that Sarah asked to be written on the wedding program. For her, the triple-braided cord reminds her that she and David never stand alone, but their lives are entwined with the Holy Spirit, who is always with them and for them.
When Sarah was very small there were a few prayers I prayed often: I prayed she would know and follow Jesus; be protected; and be given a good husband who loved her and who loved God.
Sarah decided she wanted to follow God when she was very young. I think she was only four when she took her little brother aside and explained to him that Jesus died on the cross to pay for all the wrong stuff we’ve ever done and that Seth could chose to live in God’s forgiveness and God would come and live inside of him.
She may have been three.
As a teenager there were plenty of times of angst, lots of hurts and struggles. I watched as Scripture appeared on note cards all over the mirrors in her bedroom and bathroom, on sticky notes all over her room and books, was written on her door with sharpies, and (on particularly trying days) penned on her wrists and forearms.
Sarah pounded out her passions and questions on a blog, writing mostly poems about her perception of life and God. One day she told me, “If I ever meet a guy who cares enough about my heart to read my blog I’m going to marry him.”
Far away in Georgia, David fought his own battles while his parents prayed and fought for him.
And somehow they both grew up and loved Jesus.
They had romantic relationships, and some were particularly painful. Then one day they both decided no more dating until it was obviously something God was doing in and for them.
By this time David had graduated college in Illinois and moved to California. Sarah graduated cosmetology school and worked in Boulder, CO.
Sarah had a friend, Kirsten, who was visiting from Wyoming. During her visit Kirsten happened to get a Facebook message from an old friend she’d gone to youth group with in high school in Georgia. (Are you catching this 5 state connection–starting mostly east and traveling all the way west in the good ole USA?) David jokingly messagedKirsten, “have you found the perfect girl for me yet?”
Kirsten started to reply, “no,” then gasped. “Sarah! You’re perfect for David!” She introduced them on Facebook. They chatted most of the night. Sarah mentioned she had a blog. David stayed up all night, read every post, then put several of his poems on a blog for her to read.
They will both tell you they knew that night they’d met their future mate.
Fast forward roughly a year and a half to last June. David proposed, and they picked May 19th as their wedding date.
It was a practical choice. Sarah was determined to marry in May, the pastor was available only one weekend that month, and Wagon Wheels and Wildflowers had Sunday open. It also pleased the couple that it is the birthday of David’s grandfather whom his mom Ronda says, “would have loved Sarah.”
After the date was chosen, I noticed that the calendar had “Pentecost Sunday” written on it, but I didn’t think much about that until a few days later. I sat in a Bible study listening to Beth Moore speak via DVD. She related several Christian holidays to their roots in Judaism and explained that Pentecost Sunday fell on the a Jewish celebration of harvest,
Stunned, I felt sure it was no accident that Sarah and David had chosen to get married on a day that celebrated harvest. Their marriage seemed a harvest of all the choices they’d made to seek God in the hard knocks of fighting to adulthood. It seemed a promise to Jerry and me and Steve and Ronda that our prayers had been answered.
I did a little more research:
May 19th, 2013 is Pentecost Sunday on the Christian liturgical calendar.
Pentecost Sunday is the Christian celebration of the day the Holy Spirit came to followers of Jesus. It manifested in a wind that blew through the room and in tongues of fire upon those gathered. That day 3,000 people believed for the first time Jesus was the Son of God, Savior of the world.
For Christians, Pentecost is a reminder of God’s plans, movement, and empowerment. It celebrates the birth of the Christian church. But there’s more! The Day of Pentecost is related to the Jewish celebration of Shavuot. Celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover, Shavuot is traditionally a joyous time for expressing thankfulness to the Lord for the blessing of the first fruits of the summer harvest.
On May 19th, Sarah and David reaped an abundant harvest. They harvested the bounty grown from the seeds of parents who prayed their children would follow Jesus and find a spouse who did the same. They reaped a harvest from their own prayer seeds when they asked the Lord for a mate who understood their hearts, who looked to God for life direction, and who wanted to serve others with His love.
The marriage we celebrated on May 19th was God’s gift. It is the first fruits promise of all God will do in and through their relationship. It is a touchstone, a date of remembrance, an altar.
It is a harvest of love, a celebration of the movement of His Spirit, and a joyous day of gratitude to the One who brought them together.
A triple-braided cord is not easily broken.