Pastor’s Blog – 11/10/2015
Well I have been bad these past couple of weeks and stepped away from my weekly Blog. It has been quite busy with the All Saint’s ecumenical service and flying out for a wedding. Not to mention I have also been working on the prayer service coming up with St. Paul’s on Thanksgiving Eve.
In the past two weeks the Gathering has made a location change. It is now meeting over at St. Paul’s Chapel in their side office. I recently posted to social media about this little ministry of ours and received some very positive feedback from the community. These services are round table discussions about issues that affect all communities. Our next Gathering will take place on November 18th and will be centered around the theme of mass incarceration.
This past weekend I was out of town while celebrating a fraternity brother’s wedding. This was the first wedding at which I played an official role other than being apart of the wedding party. It was quite a beautiful event.
The wedding party each took on a vital role in the formation of the wedding. Michelle, a bride’s maid, is a professional chef and she made food for 100 people. Two of the other bride’s maids had specialized in the hair styling and make up. The best man bought my plane ticket into Virginia and two of the other groomsmen went into the kitchen with Michelle. Another groomsmen specialized in the sound and had his group put on the whole production. The musicians where close friends of the couple. The first act played flute while participants gathered for the ceremony. Then, after the ceremony he retreated back into the reception area and put on a one man act by looping different solos into the sound equipment set up by the groomsman. The next act after him was a guy and girl duo that worked with the groom. They played intimate cover songs and some of their own work.
The wedding itself was done by myself and a friend Ileana Rosario. Since I am not yet an ordained clergy person in the state of Virginia I could not be the officiant of the wedding. (Virginia law requires that an officially ordained person or a justice of the peace sign the wedding license and make the official declaration of marriage to the people.) So I performed the role of celebrant while Ileana took care of the legal bits. It was a wonderful learning experience for me and I could not have had a better teacher. There are just some things that happen in a real, live wedding ceremony that you just do not cover in seminary.
My homily was heavily relational. I spoke about how beautifully the wedding come together at the hands of friends found in the wedding party. I spoke of the love in these people as a divine light that surrounded the bride and groom that day. I told them that this divine light would go with them from that place. I told them to look upon there identities and differences not as possible arguments but rather as learning opportunities and if they did that this divine light would flourish. This is essentially relational theology. It is nothing new. Every mystic in nearly every tradition around the world has focused at some point upon love as wisdom and inspiration for understanding the divine. It is the light that shines brighter and 1 bigger then all you could possibly imagine about the cosmos and in the recognition of marriage it goes with us all. We are not alone.
The Methodist liturgy tells us that in marriage two people come together so that they can find a greater fulfillment then either of them could find alone. It says that this type of love organizes are large and often times complex world. As the religious identities of the bride and groom where different I reminded them that they each had a special place, a background and heritage for understanding the divine. In their differences they could provide for themselves a greater connection with God that either of them could provide alone. This connection can be a visible reminder for the rest of us as an inspirational example that God’s love knows no border, no boundaries, no ethnicity. It is one bigger than all that we could possibly imagine.
And the rest of us knew that this was true. Without the work of everyone there even the ceremony could not have been pulled off. I could not have performed the official marriage by myself. How could anyone of us possible pull off a perfect marriage on our own? Is love not much more complicated than than a ceremony?