Sermon for Christina and Christopher Rea Wedding on Saturday, September 30, 2017

Windowselection+034_editedI’ve gotten to know Chris and Chrissie over the past few months. The thing I like the most about them is their unique combination of toughness and tenderness. They come here today to stand in front of God and in front of you to make solemn promises. It has taken them a long time to get to this place here and now.

From a religious perspective they come from different backgrounds. I know they wondered, “What kind of church is this and what kind of priest is this?” But we talked it through, and here we are ready to do this.

Chris wants to do the right thing. He has a very strong conviction to honor Chrissie and their life together by taking this step, and in this way. Chrissie for her part looks forward to having the strength and permanence of their relationship honored by the exchange of vows and the joining of the two families in a public setting.

There is something about these two people that I find in many good marriages. A kind of fierceness. A willingness to fight for things. Of course this energy has to be directed in the right way. One way that couples can help each other is by removing the obstacles. There are times on the marriage journey – when the road gets rocky – that the best thing you can do is get out of the car and move the rocks out of the way.

It helps if you can take some things that you really don’t like to do and think of them as boulders in the way of your spouse. I go down into the basement and do the laundry. It seems like a wimpy thing to do. But it is not! It is something a warrior would do. The laundry is a giant boulder I get to move out of my wife’s way. The laundry is my opportunity to be a hero. Marianne says so!

Another way you can make your marriage strong is to fight the battles that matter. And leave the small stuff alone.

I remember when we went through the wedding service for the first time. Christina wanted to know how we did Communion. I explained that the congregation comes and kneels at the communion rail starting at the end over there. People put out their hands to receive the bread, and if they want to, they may sip from the chalice.

In a lot of churches there are lines where people stand to receive Communion, but I explained we can’t do that here. Its just too complicated. Anyway, it reminded me of a story a woman told me about the time when she went to a big funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. She said there were about five or six lines to go up for Communion. The woman was an Episcopalian, and she got in a line for Communion. Now the Catholic Church for a long time has made exceptions, especially at funerals and weddings, for non-Catholics to receive Communion. But the priest refused to give her Communion. I guess he could tell somehow that she wasn’t Catholic. And I asked the lady, “What did you do?” And she said, “It’s Jesus. I went and got in another line!” She didn’t get her feelings hurt. She didn’t blame the Church. She didn’t pick a fight. She got in another line.

Now I know this about Chris. If he needed to get to Chrissie and he was in a line, and some guy was giving him a hard time. And if there were other lines. For Chrissie. And maybe just for Chrissie (and for their children) – Chris would get in another line. That’s how much he loves her.

These two people are in love. It is not only a feeling but it is also a decision they have made. My prayer for you both is that you will continue to make the decision to act in a loving way – even when you don’t feel like it. I pray you will move the rocks and boulders for each other, and that you will always remain both tough and tenderhearted. Amen.


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