(This is a wedding homily for a couple at the church. When discussing the service, which is very simple, the bride commented that it would be great if the homily could be like one of my blog posts. It is posted here with their permission. So here you are, Libby and Randy: may love continue to lead your way.)
We stand here, at the beginning of a new thing today, because of the ending of some other things: the ending of solitude and loneliness, the end of the crush of grief, the end of the fear of loving again. We stand here, today, on this glorious afternoon in this glorious spot of creation, because of second chances, because of this God we have who gives second chances to us beloveds.
The fact that you two stand up here this day says something about your confidence in second chances. With this second chance you kind of know what you’re in for, or what you may be in for – the good and the bad and the heartbreaking of it. But this love, this relationship, this commitment to each other is compelling, and here you are.
But maybe all of this isn’t really about second chances. Maybe it’s not about that at all. Maybe it really is about that stuff Paul described: faith and hope and love.
Faith in each other: the faith that this is a person I can trust; that this is a person who’s been through as much hell as I have and like me has come through to the land of the living; that this is a person I want to waltz with early and often.
Hope that something good was learned the first time around; hope that some of the things that happened before won’t happen this time; hope not that I will change this person, but that I will be changed for the better because I am committed to this person.
And love, that four-letter word we toss about like a frisbee on a spring day. You two know what love is, what real love is. You know how love gets you through the grief and the loss and the disappointment. You know how loves makes a tarnished old piece of life look shiny and new. You’ve watched each other love your parents; you’ve watched each other love your brothers and sisters; you’ve watched each other love and raise your sons. And you admire how each other loves, and you’re inspired by that, and you want to be in the midst of all of that adorable radiance.
We may well be here because of second chances, but really, I don’t think there’s any chance to this at all. You’ve worked too hard to suggest that your marriage is the offspring of whimsy or serendipity or luck. You’ve been loved by people who didn’t want to see you alone; you’ve been encouraged by your family and your friends and some professionals; you’ve been held up by each other. You’ve been wise and patient. And now you get the joy, and the rest of your life, together, and the waltz. A future in 3/4 time: now that’s a second chance.
Prayer of blessing for the marriage
Loving God, we thank you for the gift of this day, and for the gift of love, and for the gift that Libby and Randy are to so many of us. In our gratitude and joy, we ask for your blessing on these two people as they make official their commitment to each other, to life together.
Bless them as parents, as they raise boys into men, and give them patience and wisdom and discerning hearts when the Legos have taken over the living room and when curfews are broken. Bless their sons in this new version of family, and give them patience with their parents, and wisdom, and discerning hearts.
Bless Randy and Libby as professionals in their careers, with a sense of accomplishment and challenge, with gratitude for the talents they have, and with work that is meaningful and rewarding.
Bless Libby and Randy as daughter and son, as they care for their parents and demonstrate all that they have learned from them.
Bless them as brother and sister, as they discover again and again the camaraderie and friendship of their siblings.
And mostly this day, O God, we ask that you bless them as husband and wife, in their care for each other; on the days when everything is sunshine and a good IPA, and on the days when it’s gray gray Portland and the toast burned and washer backed up and tempers are short and relief feels an eternity away. Bless them with joy, at least a drop every day, and sometimes buckets. Bless them with joy, knowing that their joy is infectious, and becomes ours as well. Thank you, O God; thank you. Amen.