Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Sound of Many Waters

Two dear members of the Lord's family got married yesterday, making their mysterious promises to each other, to God, to all of us who desire fidelity and blessing, there in the warm afternoon shadows behind a stone house built before Abraham Lincoln sat on a train to Gettysburg scribbling his small eulogy for the fallen there. There was a great feast, complete with fried chicken, sweet potato casserole, and cheese grits. There was dancing and laughter, and looking back upon it, I am deeply thankful that many of my unbelieving friends and coworkers were present for the holy iconic moment of the making of vows. The stormclouds that had lowered their brows upon the afternoon parted and warmed to the color of ripe peaches, the blush of the bride. It was, in all respects, a perfect evening.

And it was also a perfect coda to the sonata that Kat and I sang along to all week, down in the lee of St. Simon's Island. We were blessed to be counselors at MDA camp for a few days. My camper's name was Jacob, and I seem to remember that name from somewhere, from someone who grappled with the Almighty. A few facts about Jacob: he is, first of all, perfectly ready to smile at the slightest opportunity. He is also further proof to me of the awesome power of meekness, because while I am loathe to create dissonance between myself and those I respect, I am deeply fearful to offend the conscience of this young man, lest I have on my hands the blood of one so innocent. I would be happy to say of myself that I was as disturbed at the prospect of offense toward others, but those whom I wrongly count my enemies - at the very least, by my actions and thoughts - stand as testimonies to my hatred. I am glad for that, because it is telling. It reveals all that the mirror does not show.

But when spending the week with those who are counted as broken, their humanity becomes a clearer looking-glass in which to see my own, much more organic, brokenness. I was glad, after a week of finding myself inadequate to afford my own salvation, to see the grin of a groom, enamored with his bride. I was glad to read from Ecclesiastes and to hear the Songs of Solomon spoken as blessing over the two becoming one. Perhaps, says the wellspring of hope planted in me, perhaps there is a bridegroom waiting to grin at you as well, his bride.

      For love is as strong as death...
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away...


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