Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
I met with a young couple this past week to plan their wedding. It is the wedding season, even though a strange one, thanks to that uninvited guest by the name of coronavirus. Planning the wedding itself is quite simple; processional details, musical options, the positioning of the wedding party, vows and rings. That is about it. I have officiated at hundreds of weddings; once I know what the couple wants, executing that plan is not very complicated. “Don’t worry about a thing. I will tell you what to say and when to say it. I will show you where to stand, help you with your vows and cue you when it is time to kiss. When it is over, it will have been beautiful, trust me, and you will be married.”
Weddings are just not that complicated. Spoken like a man. Felicia and I were married on July the 10th, 1982. I can honestly say that we did not have a single fight until four minutes after the preacher said, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” I am still not sure what that disagreement was all about – that says a lot about me doesn’t it? Thirty-four years of pastoral experience have taught me that weddings are always complicated. Most grooms are clueless, worried more about the beer at the reception than the wedding itself. The bride has been dreaming about this day for decades. Throw in the in-laws, budget realities, concerns about the weather, ferry schedules and this poorly-timed coronavirus and ask yourself, “what could possibly go wrong?” Every detail becomes a potential landmine; be careful where you step – that could be your mother-in-law’s foot there. Wait, you didn’t realize that this partner of your dreams, comes with a complicated family system, and a series of historical oddities that shaped your soon to be spouse? Men wonder if their sweetheart could possibly share DNA with these people. Perhaps she was adopted. Women begin to comprehend what they are up against. It is going to take a lot of patience and persistence to train this guy.
It probably does not make any sense to put two people together and expect them to weather decades of change and uncertainty. As I tell them, “In the next 50 years everything will change. Children will arrive, steal your heart, break the bank, and run off with someone that you may or may not like. Careers, cars and homes will come and go. Money will be made, lost, spent and wasted. Everything will change – except your vows. Your sacred promise to journey through life together. Everything will change, and 50 years from now, you will still be waking up next to each other.”
Two people promising their lives to each other. What a concept. Make no mistake about it, marriage is a crazy, ill-conceived notion. Who in their right mind would sign on for 60 years of hard labor, followed by nursing your life-mate to their death? And yet, that’s the deal! Just ask Jan and Don Allen (who celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary last week) !
Sir Winston Churchill spoke in the House of Commons on November 11th, 1947. He said, “Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
It is a privilege to be with couples young and old, gay and straight, as they exchange sacred vows and set out on the precarious journey of life together.
We are one day closer to the end of this crisis.
My love to you,
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