A Christian Sermon
for a Same Sex Wedding
in the open and relational (process) spirit
by Rev. Teri Daily
see also Process Theology and Marriage
and A Soul is Not a Thing: A Process-Relational Wedding
This is an incredible day for you as a couple, for all of us who are your friends, and this church. It has only been recently that marriage has been a legal possibility for same-sex couples in Arkansas. It is just now, that the government and certain parts of our society are catching up to the work of the Spirit. As my husband said, you haven’t had cold feet; it’s the government that has had commitment phobia.
To be honest, this is the way things typically work when the Spirit draws us out of our limited concepts of love. Prophetic presences rise up among us, stretching boundaries formed by fear, lack of understanding, and a misplaced sense of certainty. We find ourselves reminded again and again that God’s love is greater than we can imagine, greater than any limits we might try to impose upon it.
Your relationship has been for us this kind of prophetic sacrament. You have experienced times of joy and times of pain together; you have endured loss and celebrated new life. And through it all, in the love you have for one another we have glimpsed something of the unconditional, everlasting love that God has for us and for all of creation. Your love has been for us both a sign and a blessing; it has been a brightly shining lamp set on a lampstand, and it has brought light to all of us. And so today we honor a truth that has been evident for the last thirty years--that the relationship you share is sacred, and that it is a gift from the One from whom all love flows.
The promises you make tonight are not being made for the first time, and yet there is something fitting about what takes place here. Because just as we grow into our baptism, just as we in the Episcopal Church say our baptismal vows over and over, in the same way the promises we make to one another are made over and over. Marriage is waking up each and every day and once again making that vow to love one another in the midst of ordinary and often messy day-to-day life. Marriage is waking up each and every day and making a commitment to be faithful to this particular relationship on this particular day, to grow more and more into the vows made long ago. Sure, this reclaiming of our vows isn’t always a conscious decision, but it does underlie what we do and who we are.
Each time you recognize your own wrongdoing and seek reconciliation, each time you grant forgiveness to your partner, you are renewing your vows. When you fix breakfast for one another or care for the other who is ill, you are living into your vows. When you take into account the other’s needs, whether it is relinquishing a little more closet space, standing by one another at the end of a hard day, or emptying ice trays, you are reaffirming your vows. When you work together to be present and caring parents for your children, you are growing your own relationship, too. And when you celebrate and mourn with one another’s family, feeling those emotions as your very own because, in fact, they are, you are strengthening your vows. In truth, you have spent the last thirty years growing into the promises you make once again tonight, and, God willing, you will spend at least the next thirty years doing the same.
And so tonight you come before this altar, offering up to God this love you share, knowing that it will return to you enriched by God’s blessing. You come here giving thanks for the beauty of the past thirty years, years in which your stories have become ever-more intertwined one with the other. And you come here committing yourselves anew to one another, and to a relationship that has grown beyond itself to include your children. It’s a beautiful thing.
But please know that all of us come here to this place full of intention as well--we come offering up our love for you, giving thanks for the blessings you’ve brought to our lives, for the way you’ve helped enlarge our understanding of love, and we come here committing ourselves to the two, or the five, of you. May our friendship and love add strength to your own, and may all that we celebrate tonight and live into in the years to come, bear witness to that great Love that is without boundaries, limits, or fear. Amen.