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Monday, September 29, 2014

Homily at a Wedding

I want to tell you two stories.

Look at these two people! We know enough about human sexuality and culture to see how they might discover each other and be interested, right? In the musical “Guys and Dolls,” the character named Sky Masterson called it chemistry. It’s not so surprising that they would find a connection. It is reasonable. This man and this woman make sense together. It is a good story to tell.

Look at each other. Go ahead. We know enough about how guest lists are assembled to figure out who is here today. Humans are social beings and a kinship analysis would reveal how everyone you see around you is connected by one or more threads of relationship to other people here. We can talk about family ties, ties of friendships long and short, we can understand the “Who’s Who” of this gathering. It is reasonable. This gathering makes sense. We make a fine story – call it chapter two of our first story.

Now expand your vision to this place. There is light and sea and air. We see the Maine coastline revealed in the stone ledge under our feet; formed from the slow shifting of tectonic plates, the grinding of giant ice sheets, the gradual erosion of the elements. We know the geology is mapped. The meteorological explanation of a sunny day is also something we can find on the web. When you dig into it, it is rational and makes sense. So we have chapter three of our first, good story.

Here is another story.

Can you see the poetry in the shapes of these stones? Do you feel the thrill of this sea air? Does your heart respond to the expectation of the open horizon? Are you brightened by the wonder in our spirits? Breathe it in! Let it fill you up - at the same time that it makes you empty and yearning for something more. We are in a world that has been made by a love well beyond our sense of time and understanding. There is surrounding us a flow of something ancient and unimaginable. It is right here and also elusive. Something or someone is delighted with all this and filled with wonder, just like we are.

Can you see that this gathering is extraordinary? We will never recreate this particular gathering of people and relationships another time. You are right here, right now. There is nothing else in your life you can really be sure of but this precious moment in which we are alive together. This couple and their parents have given us this moment as a completely unexpected and impossible gift, a completely unexpected blessing. Maybe like me, you can hardly believe it.

Can you imagine the complex web of choices that brought this particular man and this particular woman to this season in their lives and to this particular moment? A missed train, a different friend, some alternate decision about staying or going – it is as if they have been guided here. You know, God loves a romance as much as any of us, where boy and girl eventually find each other. And what God really loves is a story that starts this way and just keeps going.

So. I have set before you two stories. You can be happy with the fascinating story about chemistry, kinship ties, and the geology of coastal North America. You can be happy with the story about a creating love that is greater than time and space, the unexpected blessing of this moment together that you will never forget, and a destiny fulfilled and ready for the next step. I suggest you keep the first story in mind but choose the second.

Beloved, choose the better story!