Jenny and Shannon light up every room they walk into. The love between these two is so palpable and I feel privileged to have witnessed such a special moment in their lives and the lives of all the friends, family, and church community who have supported their journey. Jenny is a youth pastor at her church and Shannon, a music teacher and minister, is deeply involved in the church as well. Marrying in the place that means so much to them made their day all the more special and emotional, not just for them but for everyone surrounding them in solidarity to celebrate a love that others are working feverishly, as we speak, to deny, discredit, and de-value. I look at these two and see the kind of love that any human on Earth would be lucky to find, a love that deserves recognition, celebration, and support. It warms my heart to know these two have found that in their community. Love is love and I can’t even fathom a world where we’ll ever have too much of it.
I’d love to share a powerful excerpt of the homily preached by Reverend Dr. Jill Edens during their ceremony. I can’t imagine words more fitting or meaningful:
“In a culture that has made efficiency a moral requirement, delays are frustration, interpreted by some as a waste of our time and a poor use of our gifts and resources. Orienting our lives around long-term commitments seems particularly risky and unnecessarily constraining. Accounts of fidelity under challenging circumstances puzzle us nearly as often as they inspire us. Waiting and fidelity are closely connected, and many of us struggle with both. Lured by the promise of freedom and infinite choices, we are fearful of foreclosing our options and limiting our opportunities.
Why commit to married life in North Carolina, where the formation of your household is under attack by those who would embed their unjust limitations on marriage into our state constitution? What promise, what faith could possibly be so life-giving that we would shape our future around it even and especially in light of what we well know are the arguments opposing it? Today we celebrate your audacious hope that, even here in North Carolina, your marriage will shine forth to encourage others who would share your faith that sacred vows and committed love really do conquer all even when the whole structure of civic life are aligning against it.
We have gathered to celebrate the commitment that you are prepared to make. But also to celebrate the way in which that commitment has empowered the reach of your love to touch not just each other, and not only your family and friends but the world that you are serving and go out to meet face to face.
You have both sustained the blows that reality has handed you and from which many in this room wish that we could have shielded you. We would try to hide you from the enemies of your love even now. Do not listen to us, but live openly and boldly in the name of the one who gave you this life and calls you to share it with others. Teach us all that perhaps it isn’t a foolish waste of time to order our lives according to promises whose outcome we cannot yet see, in faith, that living according to the promises of God, we will be located right where we should be in this world to regularly encounter the One who is our life and who will be faithful to the end. Amen.”
Shannon’s singing voice is unreal. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the sanctuary (mine included!)
They’re singing Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” to each other. =)
*Special thanks to Libby for her help!