I recently had the pleasure of speaking for the wedding of our sangha friend, Jiho. Here is the text I spoke.
This brave and happy couple, Liz and Cam, have kindly asked me to offer some words to this ceremony as a representative of the religious side to this occasion. The first thing to notice about this is that these two acknowledge and value the place of religion in their lives and the significance of this marriage. They agree that, while their individual accomplishments, their material prosperity and their interactions with friends and family enrich their lives, these are not the whole picture.
Every living, growing thing, including a marriage, is grounded in the material, in the day-to-day and the sloppy, messy nourishment of the earth. Equally, this same living thing relies on the insubstantial warmth and heat of the light and air. In my tradition, we teach that religious truth is the interplay between the messiness of this earthly experience and the brilliance of the timeless. For any marriage to thrive and succeed, it needs to attend to all the messes of day-to-day life. There will be jobs to attend, floors to sweep and tears to wipe away. And it needs to look to the symbolic - an anniversary, a daily good-bye kiss and the necessity of dreams shared and dared.
When we consider a marriage as a religious event, we do not bind it to a weekly morning’s service, to following the urgings of any book or to an anxious expectation of some coming reward. Religion is about the sharing of meaning-filled action for what my tradition calls “the benefit of all beings”. As in religion, so in marriage, we are called to strive to make an on-going commitment of selfless service. Marriage like religious life calls us to be our best for another, to contribute to their growth and fulfilment.
May I join all of you gathered here today to wish Liz and Cam many years of such meaning-filled action, such service and the satisfaction which flows from it. Like the living-growing thing I mentioned earlier, let us wish their union thrives and blossoms, season after season.