Dear GCI Family and Friends,
I want to share the exciting news of Kalengule Kaoma’s wedding to Musaba Mapulanga, as written below by Regional Director of West Africa, Emanuel Okai of Accra, Ghana.
In most parts of modern Africa, marriage is an important rite of passage in the life of the community. Marriage involves the community in an intimately intricate manner, not easily understood by people of other cultures. Marriage is not just a legally sanctioned agreement between a consenting adult male and female; but a process of building enduring relationship between two families and / or ethnic groups. As a result, many negotiations, meetings, and ceremonies take place between the families of the bride and groom long before the glittering lights of a church wedding ceremony. Typically, there are three stages of marriage in modern African countries like Zambia and Ghana – the traditional, legal, and Christian rites.
The recent marriage between Pastor Kalengule Kaoma and Deaconess Musaba Mapulanga that was climaxed by a church wedding that I officiated was no exception. In the last few months, Kalengule (KK), together with some significant members of his family, had gone to the home of Musaba to ask for her hand in marriage. A few ceremonies were conducted before he was traditionally recognized as the husband of Musaba.
To document the marriage status with the government, the couple attended a short legal ceremony in the office of Marriage Registrar at the Lusaka City Council on Friday 1 September 2023. The lady who was the Marriage Officer schooled the couple about their marital rights, duties, and responsibilities under the Ordinance of Marriage. The signing of the marriage certificate was witnessed by a few dozen members of both families and some church members. Dressed in an immaculate blue suit, KK was united to his darling Musaba, who wore a golden orange dress with a black jacket. After the long journey, one could see the relief and joy in the faces of Kalengule and Musaba during the photo session that took place on the lawns of the City Council.
As a pastor and a deaconess, they did not consider their marriage complete without the partnership and blessings of God. The third and final stage of their union, dubbed ‘The Marriage Blessing’ took place at Elegancia Events Center in Chudleigh area of Lusaka, Zambia, in the afternoon of Sunday, 3 September 2023. Retired Colonel Alex and Mrs. Miriam Musonda, who had graciously hosted me over that weekend, drove with me along with a couple from Zimbabwe and other church members from different parts of Zambia to the venue well before the 2:00 pm starting time for the event. We have known KK for more than four decades, yet none of us could recognize him when we entered the wedding venue. “Who is that guy?” and “Where is KK?” we enquired. Of course, KK was not going to be late for his own wedding! He was standing right in front of me, yet I did not recognize him until he smiled and beckoned to me.
KK’s outfit was regal, representing an African monarch cum bishop. His all-white flowing three-piece gown with golden-yellow embroidery had a white cap to match. He looked huge, tall, and elegant and most appropriate for this much anticipated occasion. When Musaba arrived, she came in a lovely white dress, with a white pearl necklace and a fitting white hat to match.
The hall was full by the time Pastor Dr. Inyambo Nyumbu, the MC for the occasion, started the ceremony. As the officiating minister, I delivered a short sermon in which I admonished the couple, among other things, to find ways, with the help of God, to bring their two sets of children together in such a manner that, like my own personal experience, these children will grow up blending beautifully together and seeing themselves not as ‘step’ siblings but as true brothers and sisters. That subject was also part of my prayers for the couple.
During the vow exchange, each “I do” was greeted with loud applause and traditional adulations of affirmation from the nearly 200 witnesses, which included family members from both sides. In the wearing of rings ceremony, Kalengule and Musaba each expressed the hope that in giving the other a ring, each of them “will become their highest expression of God,” as they share their gifts with each other and the world. As a fitting climax to the ceremony, the couple and the officiating minister took the elements of bread and wine in a Communion service celebration.
Thereafter, the music, dancing and joyful celebrations began. After the cake-cutting ceremony, KK and Musaba stood at a corner of the hall where most of the well-wishers danced to congratulate them. The well-chosen rhythmic sounds of modern Zambian music moved everyone to jubilate in dance even as they presented gifts to the couple. Many pictures were taken, refreshments were served, and the music and dancing continued for a long time. It was a blessing to watch Mr. & Mrs. Kalengule and Musaba Kaoma relish their new status as husband and wife in the midst of joyful, excited friends and family.
It is our privilege to celebrate the sacred union between Kalengule and Musaba. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to them, and we pray for the continued blessings of the Lord upon their years to come.
I am deeply grateful to my friend Emmanel Okai for sharing the cultural stages and important steps taken toward the union of marriage. We in GCI understand and uphold the biblical view spoken from the lips of Jesus of what God has joined together, let not humans put asunder.
Recently, I have been reading through a biography of Eugene Peterson. Upon his 30th wedding anniversary he shared these reflections.
Marriage is a way of holiness. Holiness develops in a context of love – a love defined by covenant and faithfulness, a love that matures in family and hospitality. As I look back over the three decades, I think I have not so much been fulfilled in marriage as deepened, chastened, honed and simplified. Marriage has kept my attention on the “long obedience.” There has certainly been plenty of sexual activity – but that erotic content is not what stands out as prominent: rather the returning to daily obedience, discovering obscure sanctities…I want holiness – but nothing tame or domesticated. Jan has nurtured and prayed that in us, in me. (A Burning in my Bones, p. 197).
Peterson went on to describe marriage as “Heaven’s Envoy.” Marriage is the condition where he would discover God, be transformed by God, and be ushered into holiness. Without question, Eugene espoused highest regard for what he experienced in the union he shared with Jan, united and blessed by God.
As Susan and I approach 40 years of marital union, I concur with Pastor Eugene Peterson. Our partnership in life’s adventures through rough and smooth times has been faithful as we experience the faithfulness of Jesus to us. The love we have shared and made is evidenced to us in the eyes and smiles of our children and grandchildren. The ease in which we may idly think similar thoughts or complete the others’ sentence is testimony to how the Spirit has made two into one.
If you are not married, please understand that God meets you where you are. There are unique ways you can join Jesus and serve in unincumbered ways that a married person cannot. However, please understand that a Christ-centered marriage offers unique and precious benefits of which this article is extolling.
Figuratively, we join the well-wishers who dance in front of Kalengule and Musaba. And we muse on the thought of the dancing and celebration that will happen at the wedding feast when we the church are joined to Jesus the bridegroom. What a banquet it shall be!