On the Other Side of the Voice

There is an opportunity for me to talk to the bride and groom during the orientation held before the wedding ceremony.  I still get nervous until the time the couple arrives.  Through the wedding application form that is provided beforehand, I try to picture the two of them as to who and how they are.  However, that often leads to a stretching of imagination with inaccurate information.  Wedding photographers say they do not want any kind of image or information regarding the couple before the photograph shooting because they prefer to take pictures just the way the two or the family is.  I want to follow that same style, but I tend to think about unnecessary information prior to meeting the couple.  Nevertheless, it is the two who are more nervous than me.

With both of our tension unwinding little by little, and by the end of the wedding rehearsal, I feel relieved to see the happy faces on the couple knowing that they have taken a step forward in their wedding preparation.  I had felt a similar kind of nervousness when I used to go and talk to the patients at hospitals.  Previously, I would visit the hospital rooms almost everyday praying that the patients are not suffering from repeated pain or exhausted from their rehabilitation therapies.  Even if I had visited the patients upon hearing their conditions from the nurse practitioner or had estimated the right timing for visitation, patients would repeatedly refuse to see me, and I would be down about it.  There would be times when I would end up walking past the hospital rooms for not wanting to disturb any meetings or wake up the patients.  I would come to myself with a question thrown at me such as “Are you the chaplain in the hospital?”  Even now, it suddenly occurs to me after the ceremony when the groom says, “My gratitude to the chaplain and all the staff” and then I am made to realize that the groom is talking about me.

I am reminded again at the meaning of my being there in that very moment.  When Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew15:21), a Canaanite woman cries out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  To the woman’s voice wanting to have her daughter healed, Jesus answers with words full of racism and harassment such as “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” and “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs” to turn down her request.  Maybe society was like this in those times.  However, it is the same sad words that I told myself that those were the reasons.  Jesus too was tired, and he might have stashed it away to himself.  The walk of Jesus, was that of solemnness, far greater than that of ours.  His teachings were not understood, and he was not even trusted by his family in his own homeplace of Nazareth.  Is that why he came far out to Jerusalem where there are no lost sheep and in no need of a shepherd?  However, that is when the woman calls out to him, “Lord, Son of David.”  With Jesus as the Savior in this world and people crying out to him, it is likely that Jesus was seeking a long time for this cry.  However, far more than those voices calling for him, Jesus was calling out to us.  Jesus too was calling for us.  In order to have Jesus be our Lord, I want to continue calling for him by saying, “Yes it is, our Lord.”  Jesus is there on the other side waiting for us.

Rev. Matthew Naomichi Yano