Thursday, November 24, 2016

I Believe in Love

Saturday evening, I officiated Deynna and Adam’s trilingual wedding ceremony, at the Westin Downtown Hotel in Austin, Texas. During the ceremony they asked me to include this reading from Pope Francis: “Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: We are all children of God, we believe in love.” Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I have officiated almost 340 weddings in the last eight years, but this wedding is a first. Now, you are probably wondering what I mean. Well, this is the first time I am officiating a wedding for a couple that practically bumped into the Pope! If you have not heard the story, you should ask them. It's heartwarming and funny. And, this is the first couple who asked to include in their ceremony a reading from the Pope, as you heard before. That was not my idea. It was theirs.

Now, this reading has a fascinating background. As I learned when I researched this, it has been a long tradition of Popes to put out prayer requests, encouraging the faithful to pray for different things. This request started a new tradition, it was done by video, and a really well produced one at that. You should definitely watch it. (No, not now; at the reception!")

The Pope ends the video with a request, "I hope you will spread my prayer request this month, that sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce the fruits of peace and justice." And to punctuate this message, he includes four religious leaders from four different religions, each simply stating, "I believe in love. I believe in love."
Adam made Deynna believe in love. Listen to her words, "Adam is everything I was looking for my whole life. He is the smartest person I know. He has the most amazing personality. My family and close friends love him. The most important thing is that he is my best friend and I can share everything with him! He is my partner in this journey of life."

And Deynna made Adam believe in love. Listen to his words: "After getting to know Deynna... I knew that she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. She is smart, determined, motivating, loving, spontaneous, and she is my best friend. I am very excited to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend."

The Pope's words and Deynna and Adam's words reminded me of something a long gone sage once said. The Ancient Rabbis tell us that Jerusalem was destroyed because of one great sin, Sinat Chinam, unwarranted hatred, hatred for no particular reason. And so, in the previous century, the First Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, said that only one thing will bring about the peace and redemption of Jerusalem, Ahavat Chinam, unwarranted love, love for no particular reason.

Now, it's just up to you and me, the message is clear, the path is known, the course is set. All we have to do, men and women of different faiths, is state together, "I believe in love."

No comments:

Post a Comment