[On vacation this week. I hope you enjoy this re-run from Oct. 6, 2019]
Last Sunday I officiated a wedding at the Audubon Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. Beautiful bride. Handsome groom. Beaming parents. Gorgeous day. And lots of chirping birds.
I’ve officiated the marriages of brides and grooms for more than 40 years. Sometimes it’s two brides; sometimes two grooms. Sometimes indoors; sometimes outdoors. Sometimes simple; sometimes extravagant.
The particulars of a ceremony may vary, but the result is the same: the creation of a covenant between two people witnessed by family and friends. A covenant is like a yoke. It keeps you working together, even when you’d rather wander off or quit.
Through all of life’s vicissitudes, I will be with you. I will. I promise.
The covenant is sealed with vows, rings, and a kiss. And then the couple scurries up the aisle to majestic music.
Last Sunday the grinning bride and groom scurried up the aisle to the theme from Star Wars. I’ve officiated more than 250 weddings. That was a first.
And come to think of it, it’s not a bad idea to introduce a battle motif into a wedding ceremony. It might not be romantic, but it’s realistic. After all, marriage is not all bliss. It’s been called “a crucible of change” for a reason. Which is why my last word to couples is always: Learn how to forgive.
I signed the marriage license, slipped it into my liturgy folder, and then forgot to hand it over. The next day, I put it into a large, flat, manila envelope, and took it to the Shepherdstown Post Office. The clerk set it on the scale and asked me: Does this package contain anything liquid, hazardous, perishable, or breakable?
He pointed to a screen with two buttons: YES. NO.
My finger flickered back and forth over the buttons. I stopped, took a deep breath, and stepped back.
Is there a problem, sir?
Yes, I think there may be. That envelope contains a marriage license.