Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!




Yeah, I bet you are wondering how a post about love and marriage starts with a can of Diet Mountain Dew. Well, keep reading!

It's June. The month of weddings. It's the month I'm hearing about a bunch of weddings and sometimes even attending a few of them...and sometimes, I think the older I get, I am starting to be the grumpy old curmudgeon about weddings. Just recently, Lisa's post reminded me of that. It seems that, as the years roll by, the wedding industry becomes more and more predatory. Practical old me keeps thinking, "My God, you could have put down a sizable deposit on a house for what you are sinking in this wedding!" But I worry that how the wedding industry preys upon people is by letting young couples think that buying the illusion of Disney-esque storybook happiness will somehow show the world how much y'all are in love with each other. But I guess what bothers me the most is that even in the church setting, so many of these weddings seem essentially devoid of God, or at least my projection of God.

This is going to sound a little out of it here, but the wedding I most felt God was on the premises in recent years was a totally secular wedding. One of my cousin's weddings was a totally secular outdoor affair officiated by a circuit court judge and a carry-in meal afterward. But I thought about the up and down struggle that brought these two to each other, I thought about how from the get-go, their desire was for us all to share their union to each other--fully share a meal and good times, and our lives with theirs. To me, a "good" wedding feels like a baptism. It's not a union of "two" but a union of many. It's all the in-laws learning about each other. It's about making new friends on the other side of the family. It's about DOING all the things that really say we support this new couple in their journey, and about their desire to belong to all of us--not just each other.

What happens in these unions, these "good" ones, is far, FAR from storybook. There will be disagreements. There will be issues of control to negotiate. There WILL be tears. But there will also be moments that we all find ourselves profoundly glad this bevy of new people came into our lives. I think about my cousin's wife. Her aunt and her grandmother have been two of the best additions to that big group I call "my family." I knew that a couple of weeks ago, when I had posted on Facebook that I was mowing the church yard and had run out of Diet Mountain Dew and was kind of grumpy about that. I found it incredibly profound that the two people who came to my aid were my priest associate and my cousin's wife's aunt. Mind you, I would have survived. It was not a dire thing. But to be cared for in such a tiny and easy going way by those two people really floored me, and made me feel profoundly loved.

You see, anyone who truly knows me, knows that my signature drink is Diet Mountain Dew. Everyone at Trinity-Kirksville jokes that they know I've been working at church because there is a trail of Diet Mountain Dew cans lying around. When I'm sick, people are very likely to bring me a Diet Mountain Dew. The floorboard of my truck is often littered with empty DMD cans and bottles because I try to recycle when I can. That neon yellow liquid is the road to my heart.

But within an hour or so of each other, I realized that both my church and my in-law side of the family loved me more than I wanted to let on, and they both knew how much I love them back...and that moment would never have happened, had my cousin not married that wonderful bride of his a few years back. God was on the premises that day more than either of them ever realized, I think.

5 comments:

Wonderful post! I am sending a virtual DMD to you!

And I will drink it, MP! Cheers!

Amen about the “Disney” storybook weddings. I suspect you are right about the wedding industry’s selling dreams of “everlasting love.” Like you, when I hear what some couples spend on their weddings, I am shocked into speechlessness.

You wrote: what bothers me the most is that even in the church setting, so many of these weddings seem essentially devoid of God, or at least my projection of God.
Yes, I think that’s what bugs me too. Over on my blog, I remarked that I hadn’t been to a wedding in four years. Mind you, there have been plenty of weddings in my church in these past years. But I didn’t know the people, so I didn’t bother to dress up and attend. I didn’t recognize their names. They weren’t in the pews each Sunday. As you said, they were – at best – Christmas/Easter Episcopalians. Why they bother with a wedding in our church, using our liturgy, is a mystery to me. I guess they just love the Gothic architecture of our church building.

I’m not at all shocked by your story of that secular wedding and what it meant. Four years ago, I attended my nephew’s wedding in a secular setting with a rent-a-minister. But there was something in their vows and how they related to each other … that made it clear to me that it was an act of self-giving. And now …4 years later … I am still in awe of their marriage and their relationship.

I am glad you got adopted into a family, KirkE. I’m sending a virtual Diet Mountain Dew your way!

Thanks for this post! Ten years ago a lesbian couple invited me to preach at their union in their parish, presided over by their supportive parish priest, widely known in the diocese. I mentioned that, over the years, couples had HAD to make their vows to each other in every other venue EXCEPT a house of worship and how heart warming it was that they COULD exchange their vows in a church among their friends, family and their chosen extended church family. As the couple had included the charge to the congregregation for support, I encouraged them to take that promise seriously and joyfully. When the time came, the WE WILL was resounding!

An annoyed couple approached me at the reception, saying they didn't want to have their commitment in a church and were offended by my remarks. I clarified that vows exchanged in good faith anywhere are, indeed, valid; that their venue was not 'less than' - they chose it. Instead, I was speaking to the couples who had been denied access to a house of worship for their union -- or that never considered that option because they thought of themselves as 'less than' in the eyes of God. The couple appreciated my clarification. All in all, a wonderful celebration with wonderful people.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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