I've done lots of weddings in the past 23 years and this one was really great. Maybe it was because it was also a great learning experience for me. Maybe it's because I've known the bride since she was nine years old. Maybe it's because I've absolutely fallen in love with the groom.
Maybe it's because I've been consumed with my own grief as well as the grief and shock and fear of my community over the death of our beloved friend, Fr. Ed. STATUS UPDATE:.
Or, maybe it's what St. Paul said in his second letter to the church in Corinth - something about "dying, yet behold we live." (2Corinthians 6:9)
So, I thought, before I went to bed, I'd post my wedding "homilette". Let's just call it my "Wedding Love Letter" (As opposed to the Baptismal Love Letters I do.)
I'll post the actual service sometime tomorrow because I think it might be helpful to some of you in the future.
Dear Libby and Wyatt,
Not to worry. This won’t be long. The Rabbi has already warned us that the longer I talk, the longer he has to wait in line for the Lamb Chops.
Never keep a hungry Rabbi waiting for Lamb Chops. I think that’s written somewhere in the Talmud.
First, can I just say how beautiful you look, Libby? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more radiant bride! And Wyatt, you are so very handsome, you take my breath away. What a perfect couple!
Libby, I’ve known you since you were a nine year old girl – all giggly and silly and fun. Wyatt, we’ve really only known each other for a few short months.
But, I know this much is true: The love you share is real. I see it in your eyes. I hear it in your voices. I feel it in your hearts. It is a precious gift, one to be cherished and honored.
We’ve come a long way and over some very bumpy roads the past several months of our counseling sessions together. If you heard me say nothing else, I want you to remember this:
Everyone says that marriage is for life. Now, it can sound like a prison sentence when you say it that way, can’t it? “For Life.”
I want to say the same thing to you, but I want to change the emphasis of the words. “Marriage is FOR life.”
Rabbi Yisroel (Israel) ben Eliezer, often called Baal Shem Tov, is considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judiasm. He was a Jewish mystical rabbi. He is credited with writing the following words:
From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven, and when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, the streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from that united being.That light is the life of the New Life you have created together in your love.
This is the Light of the Life that glows in both of your faces and radiates in your eyes when you look at one another. This is the Life that is a precious gift.
This is the Life that your marriage is about.
This is the Life that your marriage is FOR.
There are many important things – many important people – in your lives – individually and together, as a married couple. Parents are important. Grandparents. Sisters and Brothers. Aunts and Uncles. Cousins, nieces and nephews.
And friends. Friends are very important.
They all said that they would support you in upholding their vows. I heard them. You heard them. I made them say it so you could hear them. That’s very important.
Take a look around. These are the people you will call at 3 AM when you are weeping into your pillow and trying to remember why you stood here, on this day, in this moment, making these vows to each other.
You will need their help, their support, and their love when the going gets rough. And, it will, from time to time. That is inevitable.
The thing to remember is that marriage is FOR life.
From this day forward, everything you do, everything you say, will be FOR life.
From this day forward, your individual lives will be in service of this new life that your love has called into being.
From this day forward, you will live your lives FOR life.
The Rabbi I follow, an ancient Rabbi from a little town called Nazareth near the Sea of Galilee north of the Great City of Jerusalem taught that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven.
The light of your love has reached the heavens. So, too, will the sound of your vows. The angels are listening. The saints are watching.
Behold, God has set a choice before you, Libby and Wyatt. Choose wisely. Choose life.
So, now onto the vows. And, the Rabbi’s lamb chops!
Remember. L’chaim! To life! FOR life.
(the Rev’d Dr.) Elizabeth Kaeton
Copyright, Elizabeth Kaeton
Please do not reproduce without permission of the author