Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Marriage Feast

I am blessed to officiate a wedding for a dear friend in September.  This will be my first solo wedding and the couple has planned a lovely, simple ceremony which includes an opportunity for me to share my thoughts on marriage.  

Well before I served a church I thought sermons at weddings and funerals were awkward, too didactic and narrow to be meaningful for friends and family who are there to celebrate or honor or mourn those they love.

Talking about the ceremony on the phone tonight, I said, "I'll probably write a poem," thinking sometime in August I'd sit down to compose one.   Well, tonight, after we hung up and as soon as I finished dinner, a poem presented itself.  

It's been quite awhile since I've written a poem, and it's a delight in the midst of remodeling to create something meaningful from words instead of wood.

The Marriage Feast
For Laura and Bob

It starts with an introduction
a handshake and hello
a small kindness
that anyone would extend
to anyone else.

And then it becomes
specific, particular––
the sound of his voice
the shape of her laugh
the heart leaping
into the stomach
when the other
calls your name

And later it sticks a toe
in the water
tentative and testing
because who hasn’t been there before?
Who hasn’t placed their
fragile trust in the hands
of another
only to find it slip
and shatter
only to be left heartbroken
clutching a broom and dustpan
sweeping up pieces of themselves?

And then it dawns
the way morning colors
imperceptible but unmistakable
and you are more than okay
more than fine by yourself
more than you can contain
so you open your fist
and stretch out your fingers
intertwining them with the one
you call Beloved.

Every day together
you rise like bread
a yeast fermenting
something new between you.
And yes you are flattened
and yes you are punched down
and yes you are rolled and stretched
and shaped into someone stronger
more resilient and more expansive
more beautiful and more you
than you’ve ever been before.

And so it comes to this
right here right now
an eternal declaration to this truth.
Love is exploding all around us
showering down on you and me
shimmering like sunset on ocean
branding its image in our eyes.

Love is talking despair
down from the ledge.
Love is enfolding pain
in its embrace.
Love is looking at the world
waving its arms and shouting––
Turn off the news
pay attention to this miracle
before your very eyes.
Don’t be fooled by logic and reason
by reporters and sound bytes and bitter statistics.

Love is the thing you have to risk.
Love is the one cause worth your life.
Love is everything you can offer.
Love is going to feed the hungry world
and you are the ones to pass the platter.

With you we give thanks
with you we celebrate
with you we heap high our plates
and feast on this infinite joy.


  1. Yes, I like it, very much, especially the 7th stanza and in particular, talking despair down from the ledge. --Carol