Having performed hundreds of weddings over the past 35 years at Unity Chapel, I can truthfully say I always enjoy each and every ceremony. I look forward to each wedding as if it were my first. Each couple is distinct from every other couple, even though the ceremony tends to remain the same -- well, for the most part.
On occasion, someone may become dizzy and faint. I recall a time when the bride's family were worried that she might succumb to the intense emotional experience and faint. So I kept a very close eye on her, and did not even notice when the groom fell flat as a pancake on the floor.
Of course, weddings are sometimes conducted in homes or back yards, as well as parks and halls. I once performed a wedding ceremony on a sailboat; I even conducted a 'renewal of vows' ceremony on the large bow of a cruise ship as it crossed the Pacific to its destined harbor.
Believe it or not, some weddings are quite out of the norm! I actually conducted a nuptial during the Halloween season with the family and guests forming a large circle -- all of them donned in costume and mask for the masquerade wedding. Centered in the circle with the bride and groom, I concluded the ceremony, pronouncing the couple husband and wife; and then they kissed -- yes, the bride was dressed in black!
I once conducted a formal wedding ceremony in the hayloft of a barn, complete with a four-piece string ensemble. The congregation was seated on the main floor. Beginning with the processional, the quartet serenaded the wedding party as they walked two by two down the isle-way, then climbed the slanted stairs leading to the altar in the loft. It was quite hot up there and one of the bridesmaids did faint. However, the bride was lovely as her father escorted her to her groom waiting for his beloved (in the balcony). The groom's parents owned the farm. Truly, the barn was spotlessly clean -- can't believe live cattle ever stood in that sanctuary to eat or worship!
I suppose there has never been a wedding ceremony in which I did not recite the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians … on LOVE. Paul begins the passage by stressing that any accomplishment we may have achieved is of little value if it was achieved ‘without love’. It has a profound message -- one of his best. Then he writes about the essence of love in verses 4 to 8:
“Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous, it does not brag and it is not proud.
Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not become angry easily.
Love does not remember wrongs done against it.
Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth.
Love patiently accepts all things.
It always trusts, always hopes, and always continues strong.
Love never fails."
I have always felt that love should be expressed in the affirmative manner rather than with a negative tone. I’m reminded of the Ten Commandments: Don’t do this! Don’t do that! So when Paul says ‘Love is not jealous’ and ‘Love is not rude’, I often wondered: how could this be expressed in a positive, or affirmative manner? However, throughout all these years, I never did anything about the issue … until now.
Allow me to poetically express those very qualities of love, bestowing an affirmative flavor upon her essence:
“Love … is patient;
She is ever so kind …
and full of gratitude;
Love is humble, selfless –
considerate of others …
and empathetic with others.
Love is even-tempered:
always tolerant – always forgiving.
She joyfully welcomes both
fairness and truthfulness.
Silently supportive … she always trusts –
always anticipates the good.
And Love remains present through
thick and thin …
She’s a real winner.”
Maybe I’ll share it at my next wedding. Hmmm