Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homily for Robinson/Duffy Wedding

A Celebration of Christian Marriage for
Katelyn Elizabeth Robinson & Christopher Ryan Duffy
5:00 P.M. on 15 Oct 10
Town of Esopus United Methodist Church
Port Ewen, NY

Scriptural text is from John 2:1-11.

The Wedding in Cana is a perfect Scriptural reading for the wedding of Katelyn and Christopher. This is the only time that we actually see Jesus at a wedding, and the story appears only in the Gospel of John. I love to wonder about those who repeated the story so many more would know about it: the disciples were there and it increased their belief. But the servants who drew the water must have known and then the steward, who probably sampled both batches of wine. How else would he have known that the second batch was better?

Now look at the similarities to us here: We too are celebrating a wedding in a small village, like Cana. We too are a gathering of family and friends—and there are mothers present! These families also want everything to be just as it should be to honor this decisive moment in the lives of their children, to honor the new extended family that is being formed, and to honor all of us, their guests. Finally, our story today contains a miracle, one that I hope will be remembered by us who are here and told by those who are blessed by the married life of Katelyn and Christopher in the years to come.

We are not turning water into wine. And our feasting this evening is not a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice for us. But in a cynical time of quick decisions and casual arrangements, we are celebrating true love in the sight of God and the Church. Katelyn and Christopher have worked together. They have been friends and have taken the time to know and understand one another. I can’t forget what the couple said during our first conversations: Katelyn spoke of Christopher’s work ethic and of how much she could depend on him in every way. And Christopher said that he loves Katelyn’s “joy for life.” It was clear that they wanted their love blessed in the presence of God and of God’s people.

Our miracle starts, therefore, with the recognition of love that goes beyond self and self-interest. The vow that Katelyn and Christopher will shortly make is to give all that they are and all that they have. The poem we heard and Scripture readings speak of this amazing power of love. Marriage is a commitment to cherish so fully that two people are willing to trust their inner selves and hopes—and their daily lives—to one other. They must not only be willing to comfort; they must allow themselves to be comforted. I’m sure Katelyn and Christopher already know what it means to be pushed a little beyond their comfort zones.

And so there are risks in a commitment to marriage as well. The party in Cana ran out of wine; there was the danger that the rejoicing might end early. As the reading from Proverbs reminds us, in every marriage, there is the need to search—to stretch—for insight and understanding, knowing they are more precious than silver or a hefty bank account. Only with insight and understanding—and forgiveness—can a relationship survive. And when insight and understanding are not enough, Katelyn and Christopher will find themselves turning to God’s grace for comfort and help. The miracle of this evening is that Katelyn and Christopher are starting on a journey that will bring them even closer together and that will transform them and those who know them.

Katelyn and Christopher, with the commitment that you are pledging to one another this evening, the common everyday stuff of life—the water, if you like—can be turned, over and over again, into the wine of rejoicing. Remember this holy evening. May it bless your days together and may your happiness increase.

Let us pray:
Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life,
author of salvation, giver of all grace:
Bless and sanctify with your Holy Spirit
Katelyn and Christopher, who come now to join in marriage.
Grant that they may give their vows to each other
in the strength of your steadfast love.
Enable them to grow in love and peace
with you and with one another all their days,
that they may reach out
in concern and service to the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Intercessory Prayer from Service of Christian Marriage,
United Methodist Hymnal, p. 866)

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