I am a bit of a romantic. Now, that doesn’t mean that I cry during emotional moments at the movies, but occasionally a little dust gets in my eye, if you know what I mean. But I do love weddings. I think it is an extraordinary moment when two people say ‘I do’ to each other, in front of family, friends and in the presence of God. It is such a conservative, traditional, even old-fashioned thing to do these days. It is almost counter cultural in a society where commitment seems to be a fading concept. In 2012, only 51% of adults over the age of 28 are married. That is down from more than 70% just a few decades ago. The number of married people fell by almost 5% in the past year alone. It seems like the US is following trends set in Europe, and even Canada. So I celebrate and honor the action of two people who have come to that place in their relationship where, with the help and blessings of God our creator, they promise themselves to each other and love, honor and cherish each other.
We have a had a few weddings at First Church these past few months, and there are a few more planned in the weeks and months ahead. I have officiated at a few, and other clergy will perform a few others. We hosted a very successful wedding reception in Clarke Hall last week for a couple that was married in the Pentecostal church in Lynn. (Thank you Peggy McHugh, Sue Burgess and others who did a lot of work to make it possible.) We are offering the gift of hospitality and welcome those who seek a place of warmth and of God.
And next week, I will be going out to Nahant to perform a marriage ceremony ocean-side. I need to remember my passport to get through the causeway border patrol. The parents of one of the couple are both ordained UCC ministers. Her father officiated at one sibling’s wedding, and her mother officiated at her other sibling’s wedding. She did not want to choose between the two so I am the neutral third party, and I am sure it is a gift to her parents too, who get to just sit and enjoy the proceedings for a change. Her wife-to-be is from a quite traditional local Greek family. I have to make sure I pronounce her very Greek name properly… lots of open vowel sounds! They are a wonderful couple. I spend about 6 hours with every couple I marry in pre-marriage counseling and planning sessions. It was such a joy to learn the stories, the backgrounds, the faith journeys, and hopes and dreams of these dear women, and all the couples whose weddings I officiate. We talk about the challenges they will face too.
There is also deep grace in the funerals I participate in too. It is different of course. But the love and blessings of God are revealed so vividly to me in the conversations and planning for memorial services as well. It was a privilege to be with Owen Sowers’ family and Lois Townsend’s family in this past week, as we said goodbye to, and gave thanksgiving for, both Owen and Lois. God be with them.
But looking ahead to Sunday and next week… We will have communion together this Sunday..Yippee!! The children will be with us for the service too (except for our 4 and under crew – crib care is available for them.) I love communion and I love the children present with us in the sanctuary. It will be fun… though the scripture and sermon will mention ‘blood’ – so be forewarned.
Sue Burgess and team are working feverishly for our 3rd July Lobster Roll cook out at 5:30pm Tuesday before the fireworks. So come and help and come and eat and bring your friends.
Janet Fisher and friends are preparing for our Beach Party Summer Sunday School that will start on July 8th. She could use some help… so set right up and let her know. Our kids will love you for it.
Lots to do … Lots has been done … more to come …. May God HELP us all … stay cool
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