Today the trees stand fully grown in the gardens beside the Rocky Creek Dam in Northern New South Wales. It was at one end of the avenue the bride stood ready to travel its length, her mother on one side and her father on the other.
Walking slowly on the carpet of grass and fallen leaves was a sharp contrast to the floorboards of a church. On either side, the trees took the place of the bricks and mortar walls and the green trees and rolling hills were more real than any stained glass windows. Above, the blue sky and the heavens removed the need for a ceiling.
At the end of the tree line the bride kissed and hugged her parents. She then walked alone down a short grassy incline to where her future husband was waiting. He was standing on a flat area of grass with friends and family gathered above on the slope overlooking the area.
Unlike the usual arrangement with the celebrant and the couple raised on a platform, here, those attending as witnesses, were looking down on the event that was unfolding. The couple faced each other and held hands, their bare feet already starting to gain nourishment from the same earth that had nurtured the matured trees that surrounded them.
They had chosen to stand in front of a large fig tree whose battered and bruised trunk showed the pain it had endured to survive over the years. It was strong enough to enable its branches to provide shade for all those attending and stood as a firm reminder of the struggles life can bring for us all.
During the simple but meaningful ceremony there were a number of quiet periods which allowed the overhead choir of birds to sing their praises for the couple and the event. A gentle rustle of leaves also reminded us of the presence of the Spirit of God here with us.
This wasn’t just a wedding in a church it was a marriage celebration in our Creator’s cathedral and my wife and I were privileged to accompany our daughter down that avenue of trees.