This past weekend I had the chance to do one of my favorite things. Presiding over friends’ weddings is a great perk of the ministry gig. This was a beautiful wedding, joining two families from very different backgrounds. Guests came from Milwaukee and Mumbai, wore brightly colored saris and sundresses, suits and cortas,On the dance floor, Bollywood mingled with Madonna and midwest polkas. And everyone ate and drank and danced as the skies opened and poured blessings on the barn roof.
At one point in the evening, I found myself standing in a doorway overlooking the dance floor. I took it in: the bride and groom surrounded by family and friends from all over the world, everyone moving, arms and legs and bodies, mouths open in delight, music echoing, laughter filling the air.
My daughter was asleep on my chest, wrapped tight against me in her sling. I held her close as I watched the joyous scene before us. I thought of how people have danced at weddings for thousands of years and still do — every day, everywhere, even as bombs fall and disease spreads, even as we mourn devastating losses, cradle our broken hearts and lift our heads high, even as we fear what might be and hold fast to hope for what could be. For all of human history people of every hue, every tongue, every nation have danced at weddings with joy and fear and pain and hope and love.Love brought us all to the barn on a September evening. A gentle, kind-hearted, soul-rich, giving kind of love that is contagious in the best kind of way.
The bride and groom chose a poem from the 14th century Sufi poet, Hafiz, to preface their vows. I offer it here as a prayer that love might continue to do its work in our broken, hurting world.
It happens all the time in heaven,
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth –
That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are
And women and women
Who give each other
Often will get down on their knees
And while so tenderly
Holding their lover’s hand,
With tears in their eyes,
Will sincerely speak, saying,
How can I be more loving to you;
How can I be more kind?