Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you. This weekend our son is getting married. As Pastors, Beth and I have performed hundreds of weddings, but as parents we're rookies. This one will be outside, on a farm in New Jersey. Maybe it will rain. Showers are possible. But even if it's a downpour, it will be lovely: even if his tux is soaked and she falls in the mud and the goats eat her flowers and the cake is soggy and the tent collapses and the band sneaks off to the barn and eats all the food and the cows get out, he will still say “I do,” she will say “I do,” and the pastors will say “Amen.” That's what's going to happen. The rest is pictures.
Of course we hope for nicer pictures than all that. But the point is that this is a celebration of Dan and Jill's loving faithfulness, not the weather.
Loving faithfulness is always what it's all about. Reality itself is an expression of God's love. “All things came into being through the Word.” The good news is repeated over and over: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Some people think God is objective about us, undecided, a bit distant, and could condemn us or ignore us. But our Heavenly Lover has made a Covenant with us, a promise of unconditional love, regardless of the weather around us or within us. God isn't waiting till we die to decide whether to be with us forever. God's goodness isn't dependent on ours. God is in love with all Creation, and wholly devoted. Life is the Beloved's marriage to us. The whole world is God's wedding ring, given in steadfast love and fidelity. Every sunrise is wedding music. Every breath is God's “I do.”
We hope for all sorts of smaller blessings—good weather, good food, good hair, good health, good feelings, good parking. But deep down you know how minor those things are. Our deepest hope is for God's good love, God's unfailing presence. And that's a done deal. A promise. None of life's uncertainties can change that—the delights and disasters, the marvels, the suffering—none of it changes The Absolute: that God loves us like crazy, will be faithful to us forever, will give us everything God owns and do anything to be with us, will die for us; and that even suffering and death will not part us, but bring us closer. We are God's. God holds us close. And what God has brought together, no one can break apart. That's the good news—this weekend, and to the end of time.
_________________ Weather Report
Unconditional love, despite variable conditions: faithful, steady love and grace, with a chance of scattered showers of fear, sorrow, hilarity, tragedy, exuberance and hail. One hundred percent chance of divine presence. This is not a prediction. It's a fact.
Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve
__________________ Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light www.unfoldinglight.net
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