Sunday, July 9, 2017

Marriage Sermon

I am blessed to have had a real once in a lifetime opportunity for most people. I was asked by my good friends to preside over their marriage in New Orleans Louisiana. I became registered with the Universal Life Church and registered with Orleans Parrish as a minister.

Writing a marriage ceremony was challenging as I obviously wanted to make the moment memorable. I also wanted to make it personable and not sound like a copy of any old wedding sermon. Fortunately I was able to fight off the urge to use the lines from the  movie Princess Bride.

"Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wove"

In the end I believe I did okay, the wedding went off and it was a great time. Immediately after we even got to do a second line parade through the French Quarter! How cool is that!

Thank you E'lise and Michael and I wish you a life of happiness and love :)

The Sermon:

Elise, Michael… it is my honor to be up here today officiating your wedding ceremony.

I have known Elise and Michael since grade school, then high school, and ultimately we became good friends during our college years.

When we were all growing up individually in our home town, I know none of us predicted standing here today… in this spot… for this reason.

Despite not being able to predict the future, I was able to look back into the past when you both approached me about doing this.

E’lise I always remembered thinking… This girl knows what she wants, anyone who stands in her way better watch out! Especially her S.O., whomever that special man ends up being, better be ready to jump on board because this girl doesn’t slow down.

I also remember thinking that whomever that special man ends up being is going to be a man of great character and ultimate understanding.

Well Michael… that man is you, and was I right… Thinking back to our interactions and classes in high school I remember that I was always impressed with your calmness your wit and your ability to interact with anyone.

With the ability of hindsight now and looking back, it makes complete sense that you are going to make a great lawyer, and more importantly the perfect husband for E’lise.

In college when E’lise started bringing you around, I immediately began to think… I think this is the one. I think this guy has what it takes. Apparently she thought so too.

When contemplating what to speak upon today, I kept bouncing around various ideas in my head.

There were a few things that I wanted to accomplish… the importance of marriage, support, understanding, love, and being part of something bigger than just yourself.

I struggled to find a way to encapsulate that into a brief but poignant message.

I started to resign myself to the fact that I would probably end up standing up here and reciting the same message that has been heard for centuries at weddings.

Then, as often happens in life, I had an experience that impacted me when I least expected it.

The other night my wife Lily and I had one of our friends over who had just gone through a tough break up.

“He was the one” she said… “He is intelligent, attractive, driven, and a doctor!”

What happened I thought?!? What could go wrong… it sounds perfect…

As lily and I continued to listen and let her vent, It clicked with me what I wanted to say here today.

You see our friend (who is also in the medical field)  told us about how she had just got a new job!

One she was extremely excited for. It paid well and she could see herself fulfilled there doing what she wanted to do. The only catch… she wouldn’t be practicing medicine.

Her boyfriend (the one she was certain was the one) saw things a little differently.

He had this vision planned out, one of a power couple that would achieve high success, financial wealth, and be the ones to make it.

But her new job didn’t fit into that plan.

Well after talking back and forth for a while it became clear that they were not going to be able to reconcile their differing views of success….

And they decided to go their separate ways.

What was going to be; now became what could have been.

The reason I tell you this story is because I believe it is a common theme for us all. We all want to be successful… reach the peak, an executive on Wall Street, a C.E.O, or a big time partner at new York law firm.

But I would like you too to think about real success. Think about the people that you believe to be truly successful… I stand here willing to bet that there is one underlying common trait.

Resiliency…? Determination…? Demeanor…? speaking ability…? Yes to a certain degree I’m sure…

But for me… what I see is passion.

Passion is the key and sole indicator of true success.

For all of those people that you are thinking about that are truly successful in your eyes, the ones you want to know or be….

I am betting that all of them show that underlying passion for everything they do, the passion for the people that they do it with, and the passion to never give up on the ones they love.

Most likely the people you will think about are not the ones that are C.E.O’s or high rollers. In fact I bet some of those people you are thinking about are gathered here with us today.
E’lise and Michael, if you take that same approach to your marriage, there is no doubt in my mind that you will not only have a successful one, but be successful outside of it as well.

If you put your passion into your love, your support, your understanding, and care for one another… you will not fail.

An excerpt from the Song of Solomon Chapter 8 Verses 6-7

“for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.”

Today is the first step for you both in living a truly successful life… and if you nurture that passion for one another, for others, and for your faith, you will have a life blessed with friends, family, and a multitude of good fortune. That I am certain.

Consecration -  Ecclesiastes 4: 9 – 12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


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