My sister's wedding...

This coming Saturday my sister will be married in a tidy and well appointed Episcopal Church here in St. Paul. For our family it will be, as they say, "The event of the season..." and a time of joy. I will read an epistle, everyone has some job to make it all fit together, and my sister will, in my humble and unbiased opinion, be stunning as she walks down the aisle on my uncle's arm.

There will be tears, of course, but they will be tears of memory for those who are not with us mingled with tears of joy for this day. It's been a long time coming, this wedding, a journey of more then a few struggles and heartbreaks mixed in with the craziness of bureaucracy and flavored throughout with the kind of love that only comes when a man and a woman stand before God and look each other in the eyes. I wish them the best and godspeed always.

I have a wistfulness about it, though. I wish it could have been a crowning but alas it was not to be. There is much in Orthodoxy about how people are coming to the Faith but this one, my sister, is one we let get away. Chrismated, faithful, a member of the choir, my sister was an asset to her Orthodox church but events, personalities, and the feeling of never quite belonging took their toll and she left for the Episcopal Church. It goes to show that we can possess truth but if we do not also possess love the truth loses its value.

How I would have loved to have led her around the table just once as Isaiah's song was sung. What joy to say those words "The handmaid of God is crowned to the servant of God..." Yet what is done is done and these thoughts will never throttle my happiness on her behalf or the joy of this day. Everyone grows up, everyone makes decisions, and little sisters magically become women and lead, as they should, their own lives. It's the way of things, we leave our families and make new ones, we say goodbye to something but even in that parting life is renewed.

And it begins tonight in a tidy and well kept church in St. Paul

Most-holy Master, accept the prayer of Your servants and as You were present at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, be present among us now, granting all of us Your unseen protection. Bless this marriage and grant unto these Your servants a peaceful life, length of days, chastity, love for one another in a bond of peace, long-lived children, the joy of grateful children, and a crown of glory that will never fade away. Make them worthy to live to see their children's children. Keep their marriage bond undefiled. Give them of the dew from the heavens above and the richness of the earth. Fill their home with bountiful food, and with every good thing, that they may have enough to share with those who are poor and in need. Grant to all those who are present here this day, all of their prayers that are for salvation.

For You, O Christ, are a God of mercy, compassion and love, and to You do we offer up glory: together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages.

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