“Things you know about love, and wish they were mentioned at weddings” ©
by Rev. Jim Ryan, email@example.com
Homily thoughts on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 17, 2016
Today’s Readings are straight out of a Wedding Planner’s Handbook. With a slight change swapping the 2nd reading scheduled for two weeks from now into today’s lineup we heard at least two of the most often selected Scripture passages for wedding ceremonies. The 3 Readings today are: 1) Isaiah 62:1-5; 2) 1Corinthians 12:31-13:13; 3) Gospel of John 2:1-12. Read them for yourself and you will see what I mean.
But this isn’t a wedding. So, let’s take a step aside from the usual bright lights and sparkling eyes (necessary as they are for a celebration). There’s no bride and groom, just the opportunity to consider weddings from a wider angle and deeper meaning of what lies underneath these very public expressions of love and commitment.
I think of all the homilies I have given at weddings. I admit that I have 2 and not more than 3 standard wedding homilies that I put into play along with making comments in them that connect personally with the couple. But what I really think about from this distance of considering these “favorite wedding” readings are the things I’d like to say but don’t. I don’t say them, not because they are not true, but because they just don’t fit into either the short time frame of the ceremony (the bar must open 45 minutes – and no later – after the ceremony begins) or they may not seem to fit with the light and joyful spirit of the day. So, there is much that goes unsaid. And this got me thinking that we probably all share this sense that there is just so much more to be said.
On further reflection what’s really going on here is two people sharing love and commitment. Regardless of whether this is a marriage, a partnership, a committed relationship there is always so much more that can be said.
So, here’s my question for us today. “When you attend a wedding or celebrate a commitment that two people make publicly to each other what do you want to say to them of love and commitment?”
In other words it’s about “Things you know about love and commitment that you wish would be said at weddings.”
For starters, here are two things I often want to say but don’t. There are at least two reasons I don’t say them. The first is the time constraints on the day of the wedding. As noted above, it’s very important that all goes according to schedule (as every officiant knows who is “guided” by the Wedding Consultant). And the second reason, also a time constraint, has to do with the likelihood that the couple would only understand what I have to say many years of living and loving later.
With that in mind, here are two things I’d like to say but hardly ever do.
First, “Cherish the small events and the small moments – the times and things that only matter to the two who make this bond.” Of course, this is obvious and cherishing is sweet and momentous on such a joyful day. Besides the fact that on a wedding day this sounds too much like a Hallmark card, I don’t say it because cherishing has more to do with the rhythm of a life together. Such a rhythm requires time and distance. It requires the ability to have both vision and memory. Such cherishing is not about a wedding day – but about a lifetime. I could say all this but I would have to accompany it with a hope-filled prayer that later they will know.
The second thing I’d like to say is love and aggravation operate on different levels. Again, obvious – but maybe not so much. The shared secret of a couple finding their deepest levels together – endures much, suffers much, yes, even struggles much. But the combination of playing the rhythms and securing the basic levels sustains and makes real the couple’s love and commitment long after the wedding day recedes into memory.
In our discussion during shared homily others also offered these thoughts (with apologies for the ones I forget) on “Things you know that you wish were said at weddings.”
Each person retains an identity of integrity and wholeness while at the same time creating whatever “Two shall become” means. When each person accepts the other for who that person is, then a freedom and an ease enters the relationship. It is the experience of struggles, of ill health, of life’s unfairness, that becomes the stuff of this bond of love. Marriage means the death of the little “i” the isolated self, the full-blown ego and begins the life of connection and being together. The discoveries of the other person’s care, skills, talents, the ability to say “just the right thing” all strengthen the love that depends on one another.
How nice to read wedding readings without being at a wedding. As the passage from 1Corinthians concludes, “In the end there are three things that last, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
A Prayer (JR)
Arise, Beloved One, from across the abyss. Unite us in your love to the life that never ends.
Arise, Beloved and Beautiful One. Let us hear your voice for your voice is sweet and lovely.
Arise, Beloved, Beautiful and Nurturing One. Show us the care that enwraps and assures.
What we find in you, we pray that we may give in kind to those we love. By this love and care we hope to reach beyond ourselves to overcome the fears and the traps that shorten our reach and keep us confined.
It is up to us to remove the barriers that prevent persons from loving each other openly and without discrimination.
Embolden our resolve to emerge as the people who live up to your Name – the Beloved, the Beautiful, and the Nurturing One. Amen.
Here’s from David Gawlik:
10 Marriage Vows You Couldn’t Possibly Have Known
To Make On Your Wedding Day be honest.
- I promise to notice and acknowledge the positive things that you do, rather than get hung up on the negatives.
- I promise to accept that we are different— that we will see the world differently and over the course of our marriage we will want different things. Though I don’t expect this to be easy, I will strive to be open-minded and loving about the way that you see things. Failing that, I will do my best to be tolerant.
- I promise to do more than my fair share when necessary and to not grouse about it. Keeping score is about fear and stinginess, not about love.
- I promise to release my end of the rope when we’re in a tug of war, knowing that there’s a cost to my winning when it means that you lose.
- I promise to not ask you to change in ways that I’m unwilling to change.
- I promise to not take your annoying behaviors personally, even though I really, really wish you would wash out the sponge.
- I promise to keep in mind that your basic intention is to be a loving and decent husband/wife, even when you’re not doing so.
- I promise to drop my expectations of your becoming the man or woman I want you to be as opposed to the man or woman you are.
- I promise to focus a lot more on my shortcomings and a lot less on yours.
- I promise to forgive both of us for having not known from the start how to be the kind and generous partners we’ve finally become.