Culture Clash at the Wedding

Weddings.  A cross culture celebration.  This one was going to be done right and well and BIG.  And rightly so!

The invitations were sent.  A beautiful trifold , no expense spared, invitation.  This was the last child to get married of the lady (single Mom) who graciously helps me to cook.  The food preparations for the wedding feast were extensive.  They anticipated over 300 guests.  Would I mind making banana bread for the reception?  Of course not!  All Sunday morning…..I labored over the many loaves of banana bread.  With the help of my kitchen aid and oven, which neither tool did the mother of the bride have.



So I was invested.

And I was looking forward to this wedding. 

Early Sunday morning, Darron and I jogged by the church where the wedding feast would take place.  Large tents were already erected. An outside stage made and decorated.  Hundreds of chairs set up.  Ladies bustling about over fires and large kettles.  And already at 5:30 a.m. there were a few guests, dressed in wedding best, sitting and waiting (already).

The invitation said 2:00.  Knowing a little bit about Indonesian culture, I started getting ready for the wedding at 2 and made it to the church by 2:30.  Clearly I was early.  The church was all decorated.  The groomsmen, boys, were all dressed in tuxes and sitting around on motor bikes.  By 3:00 all the little bridesmaid girls showed up.  Sweetly dressed in white frocks and little crowns on their heads.  Make up making their gorgeous faces just pop.  They sat down on the aisle behind me and we waited. 




By 4:00 we had all twisted and turned and sweated much.  I had taken photos.  Written a to-do list.  Wrote a few emails on my phone.  And I was getting restless.  Patience is not my strongest area of the fruits of the spirit.  The one “patience” fruit that I had was on the ground, half eaten.  I was beginning to get nervous because I needed to go to the clinic in less then an hour and see some patients. 

So what to do?  I went outside and talked with my friend, the pastor’s wife.  Also the principals wife.  At 4:15 I apologized to them and explained that I needed to leave because I had commitments.  And so off I drove after spending my whole day anticipating the wedding.

I’m sure my behavior was offensive and disappointing.  I can even still drum up some guilt for this wedding social mishap.  Culture goes so much deeper and is layered and engrained way beyond our comprehension.  A wedding not starting within 10 or 15 minutes of the announced time?  Unheard of in our Western world mindset.

My mind flits to the familiar story of the 10 virgin brides maids who were waiting and waiting for the groomsman to show up…..  they clearly were not from the Western world.  Because in the Western world we KNOW what time the groomsmen would come!!!!!!  We don’t know when Jesus is coming, but it will be soon.  Are we ready?  Are we waiting?  “Dear Lord, please grow more ‘patience’ fruit in me and cover my culture social mishaps that happen as I try to minister for you.”


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