Last weekend I had the privilege of officiating at the wedding of my niece Theresa and her fiancé Carter. After submitting the requisite applications, I had received a one-day authorization to be the solemnizer at their service. My niece is a church musician, and Carter is a research psychologist one of whose recent projects required a stay on Mount Everest. Reflecting on the readings they had chosen for their ceremony was an opportunity for me to wish them well on their venture and to say some things about the journey they were undertaking:
Theresa and Carter, you are on a high mountain today. This is a high holy day in your lives.
Theresa, you know better than most how to make an hour on a Sunday feel elevated, how to make it feel different and important, at once festive and inspiring. You choose your music to help people feel elevated and festive and inspired; in a way you choose music to help people feel that their lives are important – with all their dreams and mysteries.
Our Gospel reading today comes from the Feast of the Transfiguration which Christian churches celebrate this week. Jesus leads three of his closest disciples to a high place, and they see and hear things about Jesus that overcome them with wonder and with fear.
Carter, after your time on Mount Everest this spring, you know better than most of us what begins to happen when people live too long at an altitude to which they are not accustomed. They may see or hear things that disorient them without their being aware, things that can overcome them with wonder or with fear.
So, Theresa and Carter, between the two of you, you appreciate better than most of us how important it is to live well the rest of a Sunday AND how important it is to live with our feet on solid ground. I think that’s what the Letter to the Romans means by “thinking with sober judgment.”
Theresa and Carter, it will be hard for you ever to hear the words of Ruth again without remembering this day on the mountain. Live all your days in the confident belief that you deserve to hear those words spoken to you. Over the next twenty-four hours, over the next twenty-four days, over the next twenty-four years, you will need to keep finding ways of saying to one another, “Your God will be my God. What is important in your life will always have a place of honor in mine. I cannot imagine the day when I will stop being your strongest advocate, your best friend, the person whose dreams and mysteries I will not tire of asking about and marveling over. It is still good for us to be here.”
Photo of Everest by Himalman