|Photo by Jan Simonelli|
And it wasn't. There were cute kids in dress-up clothes, one of whom handed out flowers instead of throwing flower petals. She loved the flowers too much for them to get stepped on. Both brides wore white dresses. Parents cried. Families gathered, not all of whom were crazy about each other. It was a wedding, traditional order of service and words and all the rest.
It was a wedding that felt so right. I stood there in front of friends that I love, and miss more than I realized, and asked them to pledge their love to one another. We asked God to bless their marriage and their family that already includes three kids. The vows they wrote on their own reflected how deeply they understood the covenant of marriage they now share. I smiled throughout the ceremony without thinking about it; I was so glad I was able to bless their marriage. The joy of being with them as a minister on that day surprised me.
Sometimes, we quote the Bible, both the right and left's version of clobber verses, to talk about same-sex marriage. Sometimes, we decide to claim the Spirit is moving in new ways and forget about the verses to back it up. Too many times, we have to divvy up same-sex marriage and marriage with no adjectives, which is its own double-edged sword; if we just say "marriage" people think only a man and a woman, if we say "same-sex marriage," then we clearly must be talking about something different than real marriage.
Knowing all of that, I offer the one thing I do know as a pastor who recently and wholeheartedly uttered the words, "I now pronounce you wife and wife": the fruit is enough.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits."
I stood in front of these two women and I saw the fruit of their relationship: happy, crazy excited kids; family that supported them; love that was evident even to this clueless, often misanthropic person; a desire to have God's blessing, too; abundant hospitality. All around, piles and piles of good fruit.
So yes, I'm certain, the fruit is enough.