A toast to the newlyweds...

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Last weekend Mary Lee and I had the privilege of joining in the celebration of the marriage vows of Eric and Katherine Alberson at Sovereign Grace Church in Fairfax, Virginia. At the wedding reception, Eric's younger brother, John, toasted the bride and groom and he kindly agreed to my sharing with you...

what he said:

A Toast to the Newlyweds

My name is John Alberson and I am the youngest of the four Alberson sons. I do not know many, perhaps most, of you here, but I am grateful for the opportunity to spend a minute talking with you.

First of all, I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Sawyer for hosting this wedding. I know I just met both of you yesterday, but I've heard a lot about you from Eric and I am very grateful that he has you both as parents now. So thank you for all of the time, effort and love that you have put into this wedding.

Eric and I did not  grow up particularly close when we were younger. I wasn't quite old enough to be considered Eric's peer and  we always had starkly different personalities and interests. I still remember playing basketball outside in the driveway together. Eric would team up with one of the neighbors to play against me and inevitably the games would end up with me taking my ball and going inside crying. Eric had a knack for making up rules that only applied to me—rules he was exempt from.

But eventually, as I imagine many siblings do, we became close. By the time Eric was entering college and I was wrapping up high school, most of the petty fights and arguments were gone and we had  a real and deep friendship. Since then we have spent many hours talking about our broken family, confessing and repenting of our nastiest sins to each other and talking about our weak faith in this world. I know that sounds kind of depressing, but true friendship and  brotherhood isn't what the world wants to tell us it is. It's something far more than shared memories and experiences we sit around and laugh about.

No, it's encouraging and admonishing each other. It's dealing with the reality that each of us is a wicked human being desperately in need of a Savior. It's sharing with each other life's true joys and life's true miseries; and an eternity in heaven. I am very blessed to have Eric in my life because that is the kind of friend he has been to me. In my friendship with him, I don't have  to pretend that I'm doing okay and that I have everything under control. I can be honest and open with him about my life and my sin and he does not just brush it under the rug, but instead genuinely cares for my soul. Eric, I love you and thank you for allowing me the honor of being your best man.

And Katherine. There was much talk between Nathan, my mom and me about Katherine before we even met her for the first time. After she and Eric had been dating for awhile, we all wondered aloud whether or not she would fit in with our family? Our family isn't completely normal. As a matter of fact, I'd say we can be pretty weird and maybe a little rough around the edges. We all weren't too sure how in the world it would work to have a girl in the family—besides my mom.

In mid-April, we finally got to meet Katherine for the first time, and much to our joy, she fit in perfectly. She had the number one prerequisite to being an  Alberson: a big beautiful Polish nose! More than that, she had a warmth exuding from her heart. Just being with Katherine, you felt loved and at home. Katherine, I'm very glad that I have a lifetime to get to know you better, and if you ever need any of the groomsmen to kick Eric's butt, just give one of us a call.

Lastly, I want to address the rest of you here, particularly those of you who live here in Virginia. This is a Christian wedding. It wasn't in a church because of tradition or beauty, but because the vows Eric and Katherine made are before God. They are important vows that neither of them can break in a few years when they get old, ugly and tired of loving each other. Would you all please continue to love and care for their souls? Rebuke them, discipline them, encourage them. Katherine comes from a godly Christian family, as you all know, although of course no family is without sin. Eric's family had many sins and brokenness, but God in His mercy has given everyone here as a father and mother, sister and brother to Eric and Katherine. We are the family of God, who is called the Great Father from whom all fatherhood gets its name.

The Bible says, "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it." Eric and Katherine, it is my prayer that Father God would build your house, that He would bless you with lots of children and that He give Eric the courage to lead and Katherine the courage to follow and give you both great joy in serving Christ together.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!