In just a minute we’re going to have ourselves a wedding.
Immediately afterwards, we are going to have a formal reception right here, with wedding cake and celebratory beverages, so that you can personally congratulate our bride and groom.
Directly following our reception here, J and Meredith will be retiring to the restaurant Stumps, and so if you would like to cajole them further you may chase them over there, if you have any chase left in you.
We are gathered here
…alright, admittedly, in some cases just barely…
To celebrate And to witness in the presence of God
The wedding of J Ellis, and Meredith Johnson.
Marriage is a relationship of Promises and Commitment,
enacted frequently all too flawfully by us on our own power,
but transformed when lived underneath the sheltering tent of God Himself,
who created this Unique relational commitment we call Marriage.
So before we proceed any further with this or any other marriage,
let us pause to invite God here to ask Him for the blessing He would be delighted to give –
If you’ll gently close your eyes with me,
Oh God in Heaven and Creator of all that is,
Thank you for the very breaths we take, and for the friends we make.
And for this most special of friendships, Lord, grant it the magic and the wonder that transforms loyalty into unending love, as these two children of yours dedicate themselves to become One,
in your eyes, by your strength, and wrapped in your care. Amen.
Well, that might do it.
Dearly Beloved, Before you stand not simply two determined adults,
Nor are they just your extraordinary people who run marathons,
Not just two of the more incredible Marathon Maniacs,
But before you stand two who have won from the Tenacious Turtles Club itself the titles of King Turtle and, I surmise previously Princess Turtle, about to become Queen.
And so it would be all too appropriate to point out this day the wonderful parallels between Marriage and the Marathon!
Yes indeed: they both take determination, dedication, and discipline, and a really good pair of sandals, yes don’t forget to get your Sandals …
Seems to me, Marriage is also quite unlike a marathon.
Marathons are short. 26. 2 miles.
A marriage is all the rest of them.
Marathons you Can run with a partner, or not.
Marriage Is a partnership.
Marathons you run.
Marriage? You’ll do some running. But sometimes, you need to do some good old fashioned sitting, and talking, and listening.
Marathons take pacing.
Marriage takes patience.
They feed us at marathons.
You need to feed one another.
The police hold back the traffic at marathons.
You need to protect one another.
They give us a medal and a bagel at the end of a marathon.
You hold each other until the last breath in a marriage.
Now I expect, and you expect, you will put your all into your marriage, and we are celebrating right along with you on this happy occasion.
But just like a really good marathon you prepare and do your best for,
Sometimes the really good marriage you and I create on our own develops a little sciatica.
But Marriage didn’t start from a running story
Marriage came from the mind of God.
And God has already described the best answer for what the love that makes a marriage work means, and how that Love ultimately works.
He did it at the Cross.
He said there, simply, I would rather die than be without you.
If the God of all Creation says that to us, to us who give it our all yet come up a fraction short time, and time again,
What do we learn?
When you commit yourself to one another in a marriage blessed by God,
Oh, you declare your Tenacity, King and Queen Turtle
But there comes a day when all you have done still leaves you both in pain, and sorrow, sometimes despair. But it is in that state, just as you are, weaknesses and flaws and failures plain, that right there, God still says, I think so much of you that I will give everything to love you.
And that is the simple answer for marriage when it is strained to the breaking point: I will give up all else, to keep you. As God loved us, that is how we are to love one another.
May the power of God’s love hold you, embrace you, teach you and keep you, as long as you both shall live. Amen.
Advice for the Lovely Couple –
Marathon veterans know that to get through miles 23, 24, 25 you need some good mental trick to take your mind off of your troubles.
A few of us pretenders pull out our mental tricks in a marathon at, oh, about mile 4.
King and Queen Turtle, your instruction this day: in the marathon of marriage, pull out the tricks Day One. Queen, the King here might say something just plain silly today. You pull out the mental trick, Day One, of letting it go immediately. Day one, get in the habit. And King, Queen here…never says anything silly. Repeat after me King, “Queen never says anything silly.” There ya go.
Love is patient, and kind.
Love is never boastful, never proud. You did something? Didn’t quite work out quite right? Here’s a couplen of words that come in handy. “I’m sorry.” If you’re feeling educated and not quite sure you really need to say “I’m sorry,” then knock your socks off and say “I apologize”.
You run long distances for fun. Well, love Bears all things. If you can bear long distances, you can bear one another. Long distances are harder…so long as you both follow the next one: Love Believes All things. Shoot. You believe you can run 442 football fields everytime you line up at a marathon…And, you believe you will enjoy it. Marriage oughta be a snap. But believe in each other. Queen, when King here gets cranky, you just keep believing, he loves you, cause King, he loves you. And King? Queen here, never gets cranky. You just keep believing that.
I jest, but only in part. When things go wrong, and your mind wants to go forth and fix the other, when it gets about two feet away from your head, make it do a U-turn right back this way, and think through what it was that You did to contribute to what is Your disappointment, or unmet expectation. The possibility must always be pursued that the expectation itself might have been a bit much. Kind of like running ultras.
But your marriage isn’t an ultra, it’s a forever, a definition that helps make’em work. At the worst of times, there is a permanizing power who has been around longer than me and thee, and He is the One who sanctions these things. Marriage was thought up by God. You’ve got a beef? Take it to Him, both of you, together, and the Permanent One will show you a thing or two, if you but let Him.