A wedding under a bridge.

Bridge wedding 1

Plastic wrappers and other pieces of litter rustled like tumbleweed across the empty space under the bridge yesterday afternoon.

Two hours later, enough chairs were set up to seat several hundred of Nashville’s homeless, enough chicken and baked beans cooked to feed them all.

And a few minutes later, while some were still finishing up their rainbow cake dessert, a cloth was rolled down the aisle and my friend Amanda walked through a crowd of her homeless friends to meet her fiancé at the altar under the overpass.

She’s not homeless. Never has been. Neither has her fiancĂ©.

They just have tasted the grace of God and see people through the eyes of Christ.

As a train whistle echoed under the bridge and Tuesday evening rush hour traffic shook the concrete, Amanda smiled out at a sea of brothers and sisters as the band played and sang …

There are no strangers
There are no outcasts
There are no orphans of God
So many fallen, but hallelujah
There are no orphans of God.

And then they pledged to love each other for a lifetime as they love the “outcast” together.

Those of us who weren’t regulars to Heath and Amanda’s normal Tuesday night gathering of friends didn’t really know what to do when we first got there, except we knew one thing.

The homeless were to be the guests of honor.

Over and over we got the privilege of carrying their food for them as they walked to their seats, talking with them and serving them their plates as they got settled in for the wedding.

“You look beautiful,” one lady stopped and told the bride with a gap-toothed smile as she walked to her seat.

Amanda beamed. She had carefully thought this through, and it was just what she wanted.

The vows she had written for him. The flowers were picked with personal meaning, a photo wrapped around them of her niece who passed away recently. The songs were picked out for her Savior – and two of the homeless men stood up from the crowd and sang “Amazing Grace” like I’ve never heard it sung before.

And all of it was for them on His behalf.

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:13

Bridge wedding 2

“Who here among us has not been broken
Who here among us is without guilt or pain
So oft’ abandoned by our transgressions
If such a thing as grace exists
Then grace was made for lives like this

There are no strangers
There are no outcasts
There are no orphans of God
So many fallen, but hallelujah
There are no orphans of God

Come ye unwanted and find affection
Come all ye weary, come and lay down your head
Come ye unworthy, you are my brother
If such a thing as grace exists
Then grace was made for lives like this

O blessed Father, look down upon us
We are Your children, we need Your love
We run before Your throne of mercy
And seek Your face to rise above.”

– Avalon