Sunday, August 4, 2013

An Ongoing Conversation

Last night, Saturday 8/3, Pastor John Duty and I co-officiated Nicole and Nick's wedding at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Here are the remarks I shared:

I believe that anyone who knows Nicole and Nick will tell you that they "suffer" from the Lake Woebegone affect; they are both quite above average... So, there is a lot we can learn from them.

I believe that one of the areas we can learn from them is the very idea of two people coming together from different faith traditions, with different ideas about the world. You see, the most striking thing about Nicole and Nick is the fact that while they each have very distinct and different ideas about the spiritual world, they do not let that create even the slightest distance between them. Quite the opposite!

Nicole and Nick are deeply in love, so much so that in what is a mutually held description she says, "I didn’t even know that people like Nic existed to dream about." Lest you think, however,  that they are starry eyed, and just ignore and overlook their differences, let me tell you that these two are friends and intellectual soul mates in the deepest sense of those word. Not for nothing does Nick describe their relationship as, "having (a) conversation that hasn't seemed to cease in over three years."

So, how do they do it? Well, I recently found this beautiful quote from the great Christian theologian of the 20th Century, Reinhold Neibhur:

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, may be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe, as it is from our own standpoint; therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness."

What is Neibhur telling us here? I believe he is saying that surely our views, our beliefs, our convictions matter. Honestly, why study theology and philosophy, if they don't, right? We must be guided by the paradigms we use to find meaning in the world.

However, when we step back for a second, we realize that we must put our paradigms in context. We really can't and shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. We must understand that the universe is great and time is infinite, while we are small and finite. And so, when all is said and done, we must be saved not by our paradigms of thinking, but by love, and by the final form of love, forgiveness.

This is how Nicole and Nick live their lives. May we all be wise enough to learn from them.

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Rabbi Gruber, We can't thank you enough for the most beautiful wedding ceremony I have ever witnessed. Many of my friends have said they were brought to tears many times during the wedding ceremony. Your words of wisdom and tenderness meant so much to me as the mother of the bride. Nicole and Nicholas were blessed by your presence and guidance throughout the entire journey leading up to the ceremony and the wedding itself. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for a memory I will cherish forever. With a grateful heart, Laura and Mark Zausmer