Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And What Is So Rare As……

Yes, it’s a comin’ on, June, weddings, showers, receptions. I love these rituals, these gatherings, the fun and romance. In that regard I read now that the average American wedding costs $25,632 exclusive of a wedding planner and other incidentals (from The Wedding Report.) Wedding planners are up 40% from last year. Well, jeepers, I like weddings as much as anyone – I’ve done literally hundreds of them on two continents. I love the rituals, the music, the laughter, the children, the drama, the mishaps, the beauty and pageantry. IF IT JUST WASN’T THAT SO MANY OF THEM ARE DEB AUCHERIES OF EXHORIBANT COSTS, RECKLESS BEHAVIOR, DRUNKENESS AND OBSCENE STUPIDITY. Why can’t a wedding with its profound traditions and ancient symbols, Christian, Jewish or otherwise, be a joining together of that which asks God’s blessings rather than the Devil’s bacchanal? It’s so easy to do it the right way. The wedding planner I talked to for this blog told me she can do a perfectly beautiful, complete wedding with reception for somewhere around $ 5,000. I happen to believe weddings are supposed to be a “mystical union” as the ritual says, rather than a circus spectacle.

I know all the pressures on couples and families to have weddings that “keep up with the Joneses.” Honestly, I’d like to meet the Joneses we’re supposed to keep up with. I suspect they’re probably trying to keep up with us. We know weddings are to honor our children, to given them this special gift, to send them into marriage with many blessings. When I perform weddings, I see things from the front looking out. I am often disheartened from this view when I think I see “the things” of a wedding being substituted for “the spirit” of it.

“And what is so rare as a day in June,
Then, if ever, come perfect days………
Whether we look or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur and see it glisten.”

So, you know what, friends and neighbors? A lawn is a perfect place to hold a wedding. Neither the grass nor the sun nor the breeze nor the smell of the earth charges us a thing for their use. I’ve always thought a lawn was just begging us to use it. And (you can write this down), I’ll even come and do it for you for nothing, just for the joy of it.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Recently in our newspaper that covers the middle section of our state I noticed this headline: PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR TO SPEAK ON WATER. Well, I thought, maybe that means he/she will stand on a bridge and speak to people in the water. Maybe it means the speaker will stand in shallow water and speak to people on the shore. I could see several possibilities to this event of a water speaking author. If there was any possibility the speaker was actually going to stand on top of the water I definitely wanted to be there. I've never seen anyone walk on water in the Galilean sense, I never did it myself and I don't think I'd actually want to be there if I tried, I don't really trust my butterfly stroke. I swim through the water, I stand under the water while showering, and I fly over the water while in an airplane. Walking on water has just never been my thing. Actually doing it in the Galilean sense is called a miracle as in Matthew 14.

Yet the thing is, I've actually seen miracles. Webster defines miracle as, "An extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment." OK, I've never seen anybody walk on the water but I've seen a teenager suddenly, unexpectedly, against the odds, go into remission. That hospital room rose up in one united shout of joy when the news was delivered to the family. Know how many miracles take place every day when someone is cured of alcoholism or drug addiction? IT'S LIKE WALKING ON WATER! I've seen a 3 day old baby undergo surgery for cornea cancer and given sight. I've seen a distraught mother pulled back from the brink of a bridge when overwhelmed with despair, saved by love no less. I've seen a young doctor who might earn $ 400,000 a year in a lucrative practice give his whole life to the poor in the slums of La Paz, Bolivia, his name is Charles Peterson. Whenever I hear someone call it a miracle when Jesus walked on the water I respond, "Absolutely!" When I see or hear of a child being delivered safely in childbirth I say, "A miracle, absolutely!" Jesus affirmed in Matthew 14 that believers can walk on the water. Yes, and when that water is the water of Easter newness, of cleansing, renewing, rising up, overcoming, seizing hope, we truly, honestly, victoriously, walk out into the light of the Easter hope. "Come to me," Jesus said to Peter, "Walk with me here where it’s deep and uncertain." No, not to a rose garden, just a daily walk to life's beauty in the Easter Promise.