“Forgiveness is the central theme of marriage”
These were part of the messages that Pastor Uriah Mitchell of Gbarnga’s Messalina Baptist Church delivered to Mr. Jeremiah S. Cole and his bride, Ms. Cynthia Kenneah, when they were recently joined in holy matrimony in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The exchanging of vows was conducted by Reverend John K. Kollie, II of Kakata’s Gethsemane Baptist Church.
“Your wife is not your mother, neither are you her father,” Pastor Mitchell told the couple, following their traditional wedding held prior to the deeply moving religious ceremony two Saturdays ago.
The marriage began with a typical traditional ceremony, during which several beautiful young women, including a white colleague and friend of the bride, were presented but all rejected, until finally the real one, beautifully attired, ebony-colored Cynthia Kenneah appeared, acknowledged by the uncle of the groom to be — “the one my nephew has chosen for his wife.” This was followed by the payment of the dowry. Because the bride had already given birth to their first child, a daughter, the groom had to pay more money for the child, as though a fine for “eating before he said the grace.”
During the ceremony there were many hitches along the way; for example, a breakdown of the vehicle bringing the bride, for which the uncle had to cough up more money to ensure her arrival.
In the end there was wild celebration when the full dowry was accepted and Cynthia handed over, first to the groom’s family and then to Mr. Jeremiah S. Cole, who gratefully and joyfully took possession of his beautiful bride.
The bridal party then retired to dress in their exquisite traditional robes for the religious wedding ceremony, held at the same venue.
In his matrimonial message, Pastor Mitchell stressed the importance of a marriage being blessed by a pastor.
Preaching from his text, Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, 5:22-33, Pastor Mitchell urged the wife to submit herself to her own husband, “as unto the Lord; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church: and the savior of the body.”
In his exhortation (advice) to Jeremiah, the groom, Pastor Mitchell said, quoting verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself … For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
“This is a great mystery,” Saint Paul added, “but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless, let every man in particular so love his Wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverences (respects) her husband.”
Pastor Mitchell urged the couple to be ready always “to sacrifice for each other;” and then he gave them this charge: “Forgiveness is the central theme of marriage.”
He further urged them always to remember that “communication is a key factor in marriage. Without communication,” he warned the couple, “there will be confusion—a barrier” between them.
The couple, he said, should communicate not just in words, but body language especially. “Be always ready to hold, touch and hug each other,” he told them, and he strongly urged them to sleep on a single-sized bed. “Always be prepared to “refresh each other—I am here not talking about word of mouth, but about sexual relationship.”
Pastor Mitchell then switched straight to Song of Solomon, Chapter 4:15, in which the groom expressly says of his bride, she is “a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters … Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out.”
And then the bride exclaims: “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”
Pastor Mitchell closed his sermon by urging the couple to tell each other constantly, “I want you to refresh me tonight!”
“Refresh me,” he told them, “should always be your password.”
Cynthia is a graduate of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), where she studied Home Economics. Within two years following her graduation, this enterprising young woman built a three-bedroom house in Kakata with a shop, where she sells soft drinks along with short bread, corn bread, rice bread, pies and macaroni. She also has a sewing machine and produces clothes for men, women and children. In addition to her private business, she is today a senior staff member in the BWI Cafeteria system.
Her husband, Jeremiah, is student of the University of Liberia, where he is studying Agriculture and Forestry.
Her mother, Mrs. Martha Kenneah, of Korkoyah, Bong County, is deceased; and her father, Dickinson Gweh. The bride was given away by her uncle, Mr. Phillip B. Toaloe.
Jeremiah’s parents are Henry Cole and Ms. Wattah Bondoe, both of Margibi County.
One of those present at the wedding was Daily Observer Publisher Kenneth Y. Best. Said Cynthia, “God first, it was Mr. Best who made me to get a bright future. He found me in Gbarnga, an unknown girl from Korkoyah, Bong County, when I had never before heard of him. He sent me to the Gbarnga Methodist Mission, then to BWI, where I became a professional woman. Thank God for Mr. Best.”