What are the connections between these 2 readings? How do the connect with the wedding we celebrate today? One is seemingly so full of storm, the other seemingly serene.
The poet uses the imagery of the story of Jesus and his disciples out on the lake. Jesus has gone off by himself to be alone and sent his followers off by boat. A storm came up and they were having a hard time of it. Jesus is strolling across the waves as though nothing is happening – the followers see him and freak out – “it’s a ghost!” they say. But Jesus assures them that he is really there – then Peter asks to try this water walking – he does pretty well until he looks down and sees how really stormy it is. But all is well as Jesus takes his hand and leads him back to the boat. It is a terrifying and exhilarating moment for Peter – when he makes those first few steps in the face of the storm to discover something about himself and about his faith.
Then we look at the icon on the front of the bulletin and hear the story of the wedding at Cana. The wedding reception is in full swing and they have been partying long enough to run out of wine. Mary, Jesus’ Mother, notices this and speaks to Jesus – though he says – this is not my problem and I don’t want to reveal myself right now – Mary tells the servants to be ready and we heard the rest of the story - the wine is the finest, the party goes on, and disaster is averted.
What do these readings say to us today as we gather to witness the vows between Eric and Melissa, to celebrate their wedding and make our promise to them to uphold them in their marriage? Today we celebrate this wedding – a one-time event – but we are saying that we are going to uphold their marriage – a lifetime experience. We plan to be “for them” forever.
Eric and Melissa and you and I will see many days like the ones in the poem and in the gospel: Times of stepping out into the storm and finding joy, times of celebrating and finding disaster. We never know which it will be but we promise to support and love each other through it all.
It is an odd thing that in popular wedding-speak – the culture uses the shorthand about the vows being the “I do’s” – but in the service – it is all about “I will.” Melissa and Eric – in response to the words of the Consent – say, “I will.” In response to the question to us, we say, “We will.” To me there is a big difference – the “will” includes the heart, mind, body and spirit not just an act that we “do” today – but a continual commitment to put our whole selves into the life of holding this couple in our hearts as they hold one another in their hearts.
It is our joy to be here today to make theses vows and promises – and will be our joy to continue in them. Seeing you step out on to the water of life – no matter what comes- reaching for each other’s hand- risking relationship once again – choosing life together. Our joy to celebrate today – and to pray for the Spirit to refill and refresh your lives like the finest wine when the relationship feels a bit watery – to remind you of the day when you risked all for love.
So take God’s blessing and our blessings as you go forth from here – knowing those blessings are not just for the moment but for all your days: Today, tomorrow, and always. Amen.