I’ve got a wedding scheduled tomorrow afternoon from 4:30 at Budou No Ki in Okagaki. Are you ready for this? 220 guests! That’s probably the one of the biggest weddings I’ve ever had the opportunity to perform here in Japan.
The guests attend the ceremony and afterwards are invited into a huge reception room to the wedding banquet, or feast ⎯ an Asian custom that flows all the way from Biblical times. (cf. John 2:1-11) One person’s banquet plate can cost up to $150 each. With a crowd like the one tomorrow, one can figure the cost will run about $33,000 just for the food and drinks, which include wine just like John tells us about in John 2. This would not include the cost of flowers, renting the dress and tuxedo, wages for cooks, waitresses, staff or the choir, organist and pastor either.
However, it is customary that if invited to a wedding ceremony and the following banquet-feast, the person brings an envelope that contains a customary amount of money. At least half of that money is used to help pay for the banquet dinner. The remainder is set aside to pay for these other expenses. It is indeed an honor to be invited to a wedding in Japan, however, I feel it a greater honor to be able to perform the ceremony that joins the couple in holy wedlock ⎯ and then bless them in the name of the LORD.
I just returned from a fun orientation session with the couple that will be married tomorrow afternoon. The groom is a pilot for All Nippon Airways and the bride-to-be is a ground hostess for Japan Air Lines. The groom is from our own Munakata City, and the bride-to-be is from the neighboring town of Kurate. Both are in their upper twenties.
There are wonderful blessings to being a pastor. By the way, the Greek root word for “pastor” might surprise you, and then again it may not.
The Good Book says . . .
“For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” (Acts 24:5)
pestilent ⎯ Modification of Middle French “empesterer,” to hobble, embarrass; from (assumed) Vulgar Latin “impastoriare,” from Latin “in-+(assumed) Vulgar Latin pastoria,” hobble, from Latin “pastor,” herdsman ⎯ more at PASTOR. The meaning is to harass with petty irritations, annoy.
I sure hope I don’t fall in to this category! Now you can understand why some cranky people say, “Quit pestering me!”
Church leaders are just trying to do what God has called them to be: a guide, a shepherd, a protector. The five-fold ministry (of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) that God has given the church is perhaps the best “pesticide” this side of Heaven against “all the wiles of the devil.”
Eeeek! RA I D!