Saturday, September 6, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 17, 2008 Holy Matrimony
Megan Murphy Malloy and Richard Brian Blackmon
Megan and Brian! What a great day! So long in planning and preparation, over all these many months, and even years, a time of joyful anticipation, for your families and friends, but of course most of all for you. And now, amazing, here we are. And it is good to be here. Certainly on behalf of your family and friends, all of us, and on behalf of the congregational family of St. Andrew’s Church, which was so much a part of your life, Megan, as you grew from childhood to young adulthood here: on behalf of all, may I say simply congratulations to you both, and thank you. Thank you for finding each other and falling in love and for coming to this holy day of promise and new beginning. Thank you for inviting us to be a part of the celebration, to participate as witnesses, to stand beside you as we will pray God’s richest blessing on the life that will unfold from this day forward. Thank you.
You’ve selected some beautiful and very appropriate readings for us to hear this afternoon in this service. Each one of them I know meaningful to you, reflective of your deeper sense of God’s goodness on this day, and each one of them pointing toward themes also about the days to come, on how you will seek to live out the promises of today in your relationship one to another, and in all your friendships and family relationships, and in the work that God gives you to do in the wide world.
There are lots of starting places in these readings for wedding sermons. But I’ve promised not to preach more than one, and not an overly-long one at that. So what I’d like to do is just to highlight for this moment and for all of us a short passage from the 8th Chapter of the Song of Solomon, which we’ve just heard, at the 7th verse: Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. It’s a beautiful phrase, in the midst of what I think is one of the loveliest of all the readings appointed for the celebration of Holy Matrimony. This gorgeous love song, the lover to her beloved. And so richly as on this day filled with the certainty of a commitment that you intend to be deep and lasting, strong enough to survive and flourish no matter what storms may come. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. And of course that is for all of us what we stand for today, as we stand with you. There are for every family, in every life, so many twists and turns of the path, so many mountains to climb. Days of great joy, to be sure, but also days of challenge, days of sadness and loss. And we stand today with you in the confidence of your love and commitment, your patience and tenderness, as you hang in together, as you grow through all the changes of life, committed to growing more deeply together day by day.
And we say together today with the mind of the Church that this commitment of marriage is a sacrament. Which is to say that what we hope and pray for in the life you begin today will reflect as well the character and presence of God, who will stand in this relationship with you. And to say that his is the love that cannot be quenched or washed away. The strong and secure foundation on which you can build your lives, your home, your future. And my prayer for you, Megan and Brian, is that you will experience that strength and security as a reality of your lives, that you will continue to open yourselves to the generous love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his guidance, and that in all the days ahead for you there will be an abundance of his blessing. Again, then, from us all: congratulations!
Now as Brian and Megan with their witnesses come forward to the altar to exchange the vows that will make them husband and wife, I would ask that we would all bow our heads to God to offer for them in our own way and our own words a silent prayer of thanksgiving and care.