Friday, April 29, 2011

Defending the Sanctity of Marriage Since 1973

Yes, this is me. It wasn't a "Royal Wedding" -- it was the 1973 of my elementary school friend Catherine Cutter to her own Prince Charming, Joe Higgins -- and I got to be one of the bridesmaids. And don't I look fine in my pink taffeta bridesmaid dress! (And no, it was not Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.)

There have been a lot of weddings under the bridge since I posed beside Cathy & Joe's wedding cake in the Arcadia living room at the reception following the Lutheran liturgy where they promised to to love, honor and cherish each other until death did they part.

But what I thought about today ... tonight ... as I continued to reflect on the event that kept me up most of last night were the similarities between what the world watched Catherine and William do in Westminster Abbey and what happens every time a couple step out and make take the amazing risk of promising to love, honor and cherish each other until death do they part.
(And yes ... I stayed up and watched nearly all of it. I'll admit to fading as the liturgy finished and dozing off -- figuring I could catch the balcony kiss and the fashion post-mortem later ... which I did. But here on the "left coast" the festivities started at 1:00 a.m. ... so there wasn't much point in "waking up" for the wedding ... we just "stayed up" for it.

I loved the clothes, the hats and the pageantry. I loved the Rutter anthem and the cartwheeling verger. I loved seeing Camilla curtsy to the Queen, that Harry couldn't resist making side comments during the service and that the tiny bridesmaids couldn't sit still. I loved the tolling bells and the gathered crowds and event that Rowan Williams seemed to be enjoying himself -- bless his heart.)
But at the end of the day it wasn't about any of those things. It was about two people who found each other. Loved each other. Claimed each other. And who want to profess that love and claim publicly and to invite their community and their God into their relationship ... to support and to bless them in their life and commitment to each other -- to protect the sanctity of their marriage.

You can download the whole wedding liturgy here ... but I loved that in addition to all the lofty prayerbook language, William and Catherine wrote their own prayer to be included in that liturgy:
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I loved that as I listened to the vows they made ... to the promises they promised ... to the liturgy that unfolded ... there was a deep sense that this wasn't just a "royal" wedding ... this was a "real" wedding: the coming together of two people with same hopes, dreams and expectations that every wedding I've ever been part of -- from the 1973 pink taffeta one to the one we're preparing for this Memorial Day weekend at Sewanee and every one in-between.

What I'm thinking about tonight is about all that is sacred about those promises. About those hopes. About those dreams. And about how that sacredness -- that sanctity -- deserves our best and our most determined efforts to protect it. And I'm thinking about "weddings I have known" -- Cathy & Joe in 1973 and Michael & John Clinton in 2004. Anne & Stuart in 2006 and Bear & Susan in 2008. Mel & Gary. Brian & Fernanda. Gene & Mark. Emily & Louis. Joshua & Henry.

What I'm thinking about tonight is the sanctity of marriage that transcends the orientation or the gender of the couple making the promises to love, honor and cherish each other ... and of what a privilege it is to be part of a Protect Marriage movement committed to protecting ALL marriages and to preaching Family Values that value ALL families.

So God bless Will & Kate as they begin this next part of their life together. May they live long and prosper. May what God has joined together no one put asunder. And may we live long enough to see all marriages equally celebrated and protected.

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