Saturday, June 4, 2011
Marissa Lee Mueller and Justin Timothy Schaup
Song of Solomon 2: 10-13; 8:6-7; Colossians 3: 12-17
Marissa and Justin, what I want to say first to you, and I know I’m speaking for all the family and friends gathered here this afternoon, is thank you. It is for all of us, and for me personally, a privilege and a joy to be sharing this moment with you, to be with you as you exchange the vows and promises, the words, and the commitments of the heart, that will make you one in Christ, as husband and wife. It’s a great day! We’ve been thinking about it and planning for it for a long time, and when we started this date seemed a long way off—but now, time has flown by, and here we are. You’ll hear this a hundred times today: Congratulations! Congratulations to you, as I know this season of your friendship and deepening relationship has been rich in so many ways, and as I know that the story that is yet to be told of the life and family you will share as husband and wife, in the careers that you share in public service, that all will be a great and meaningful story indeed.
Weddings have been something of a theme this season because of the “Royal Wedding” of Prince William and now-Princess Catherine a little over a month ago in England. Some of my friends got up to begin watching that at 4 in the morning—but I was a little bit less ambitious and just caught the highlights later that evening on television. Certainly it was a wonderful occasion in Westminster Abbey, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the fanfare, and a memory of that fits nicely as we think here this afternoon about our lovely St. Andrew’s and the beautiful music and the richness of today for you. One of the things I most enjoyed about the Royal Wedding was the sermon preached by +Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, who was the member of the clergy who had done what we would call the pre-marriage counseling with William and Cate, and that was important because he had also been the one many years ago now who had been the pastor for young Prince William and his brother when their mother died. So there was a deep personal connection, and I thought that was quite touching. And I’d like to share just a brief quotation, one sentence, from that sermon. The Bishop said: “In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding, with the bride and the groom as kind and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.”
Every wedding a Royal Wedding. Your vows exchanged here before God and in the face of this company of family and friends. “King Justin, Queen Marissa!” Remembering the pattern that makes this all meaningful. The self-giving love of Jesus, which is the ideal and model of all our human love. With compassion, generosity, patience, and strength. Seeking his blessing in the life of his Church, and as you would set out on a new life together. Wives and husbands are called into this mystery, to love one another in Christ so profoundly, that the other becomes even more important than the self. A love that seeks not its own benefit, but the victory and completion of the other—a love that finds joy and fulfillment first and most of all in the knowledge that the other comes first in that joy. In this way, the two become one. The relationship of husband and wife then an image of Christ’s love for us, a hint of how we are all to live in our relationships with one another.
And this day, the commitments you bring, the words and promises, speak about who you are today, and also about who we are all destined to become, this moment like a window, through which we begin to see God’s hope and dream for each one of us since the creation of the world. The rarest thing of all, the most precious, the most fragile, the hardest to find and the easiest to lose, yet somehow also the most durable, the most patient, the most forgiving, the most welcoming. Here in this present moment, and yet also as Bishop Chartres told William and Cate, a new life that is born and that flows into the future, to carry God’s blessing in ways that today you and we can only dream of.
Marissa and Justin, may God bless and keep you in this new life that you begin today, and with joy and peace in all the days ahead.
Now as you will come forward to exchange the vows that will make you husband and wife, I would ask all of us here to bow our heads for a moment to offer a prayer for you, for your protection and your blessing, your joy, in all that God has for you and all that God will do in his goodness through you in the days and years of your lives.