Today marks the ninth year that Allison and I have been married. We’d both be lying if we said marriage is easy. The past nine years have been filled with overwhelming joy and, at times, sadness. I am far from the perfect husband but Allison can’t say she didn’t know it. Jason aptly pointed out, at our wedding, that what we were about to get ourselves into was not only crazy but also at the same time we were turning our our best and worst selves to one another for transformation.
Below is the homily Jason wrote for our wedding.
Happy anniversary Allison!
Allison and Teer, go ahead, you can breathe.
In fact, I want you both to breathe in this moment, drink up this day. I want all your family and friends to look up here at the two of you standing here in the afternoon shadows, and I want them to strain their eyes forward for a glimpse of the sacred.
Whether we call it a sacrament, a covenant or the beginnings of a vocation; this is what holiness looks like.
In a way, this moment began years ago. When you started college you also began a friendship that brought you here today.
But you couldn’t have known then that what the two of you had found is the kind of friendship that is rare to find and is a treasure when we do find it.
What began as your friendship grew into something more, something even deeper.
Allison, you found in Teer someone you could trust as much as yourself- someone who is patient and kind, someone who lets you glimpse your best self, someone who- even when you disagree- supports you and loves you unconditionally.
And Teer, you found in Allison that rare person who can nurture you but also respect you, someone who can encourage you to grow while still taking joy in who you are right now.
This moment is years old now, and so you both know that the hand you reach out for today is a steady one, a faithful one- one that you can trust as much as your own.
This is what holiness looks like.
You two have drawn for me an enthusiastic illustration of what you hope your marriage will be: your home together, your vocations and even your children and the new family they create.
It’s not often I get to stand here in front of two people who have worked at their relationship so sincerely and are so willing to be known by another.
Today I have the privilege of standing here confident of the character and faith that you bring to marriage.
And yet, I have one pre-marital question left for the two of you: What are you thinking?
How can you two be ready? No matter our age or our experience in life, how can you, or anyone, possibly be ready to make such promises?
Trust. Fidelity. Intimacy. Self-denial- forever!
These are enormous, outrageous promises to make. Like all aspects of Christianity, marriage is a high-risk adventure, for a life lived together can expose the worst in people, all the intricate flaws and foibles that come with human nature.
No matter how many times we have sat in pews like these and listened to people like me announce “Dearly Beloved,” these are daunting promises to make. Someone wiser than myself said “marriage makes you ready for marriage.”
The journey you two begin today is a journey that will never be complete, but that incompleteness is not an imperfection. It is a testimony to your love for and your trust in the other.
Marriage is risky business. Today the two of you are not just saying ‘I do’ to the person standing next to you; you’re also saying ‘I do’ to whomever or whatever that person is going to become- something that is unknown and unseen to the both of you.
That is the risk you take today, but as far as the church is concerned it’s a beautiful risk. It’s an act of faith. It’s your faith in each other that we applaud today. And it’s your willingness to go forward with each other even though the way is not certain that leads us to say: ‘This is what holiness looks like.’
Allison and Teer, the people you will be at the end of your life together will not be the people you are right now.
Today, with vows and rings, you give yourselves over to be transformed by the perceptions of each other. Today you covenant to let the love and perceptions of the other shape you anew so that your marriage will yield fruit different from what you bring to it today.
By the promises you make today you become for us a parable of the love of God. By your willingness to stand up here and witness that you are a delight in the eyes of your delight, we can remember that, in the eyes of God, we are all occasions for joy.
So, beloved, come and let us love one another, for love is of God and anyone loves is born of God and knows God.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.