It seemed like any other wedding.
Everyone dressed in their finest. The bridal party dancing in, sporting matching suits and gem-tone dresses. The bride in white voluminous masses of taffeta. The grinning groom bouncing on his heels.
Sure, the bride’s very measured procession down the aisle felt a little sepulchral. And though the ostensible start time was 9:00, our arrival just past 11:00 got us to the church before half of the attendees. But, for the most part, it could’ve been a celebration with any couple in Wilmore’s Estes Chapel.
Last week, we were invited to our friend Maxwell’s wedding.
Clark worked with Maxwell during his intern year at Tenwek in September 2015. Upon our return this October, we were happy to hear that Maxwell had stayed on to work as an ER clinical officer.
Initially his wedding felt familiar. But two hours in, I realized I’d completely forgotten we were at a wedding.
For two hours we danced and sang and celebrated. We did not celebrate Maxwell and his bride. We celebrated the One who had made them and saved them and brought them together.
Every wedding I’ve attended has left me ruminating on one of three Bible passages: the account of Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi, the Ecclesiastical description of that not easily broken three-stranded cord, or the ubiquitous marital love chapter of I Corinthians 13.
This wedding was different.
We lasted about three hours before Hannah’s hunger, exhaustion, and diaper drove us home. As we walked, it was this verse from Colossians that filled my thoughts:
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
It wasn’t just the wedding that called this verse to mind.
When we were here two years ago we had almost daily invitations for meals and fellowship from the Kenyan medical students and interns working with Clark. Maxwell was never there.
I was struck by the oddity of it. In general Kenyans are community oriented and seem (especially to a couple of introverts!) aggressively social. Maxwell was friendly and hardworking, but noticeably absent from these extracurricular activities.
Sharing chai and eggs last week with our welcoming neighbors
Our final week at Tenwek, we finally voiced the question: “Where’s Maxwell?”
As a student, Maxwell chose Tenwek because he wanted to learn how to practice medicine in a God glorifying way.
But his call was not confined to hospital walls.
Every weekend, after a 60-80 hour work week, Maxwell “disappeared” to the villages to disciple and preach to youth.
As I establish routines here in Kenya and go about daily tasks (that are not relieved from their mundanity by an African setting!), Maxwell’s wedding and his life have challenged me.
How we spend our days…
As I study Swahili flash cards and bake bread and read with Hannah and bring rain water up for our filter, am I doing these things in worship of and with gratitude towards Jesus?
My prayer is that we would learn to do all things for the glory of God.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…”