The evening has come and gone; the ketubah is signed, the glass smashed, the champagne toasted, the disco medley played, and the guests exhausted. These guests, anyway.
The wedding service itself blended Judaic and Filipino customs seamlessly; Rachel was terrific, and everyone did just what they were supposed to. The sermon seems to have gone pretty well, so I’ll add it in the extended entry below.
The part everyone’s interested in, though, is did Joey play the accordion at his own wedding? The answer is, emphatically, Yes.
Joey was great, and the dance floor filled as he roared through “Old Time Rock’n’Roll” and his classic interpretation of “Born to Be Wild” (with Wendy on vocals). The accordion so captivated the pulses of all present that even a grouchy old curmudgeon was dragged onto the parquet by some lovely blithe spirit.
A splendid time was most assuredly had by all.
[Later: Margaret stipulates that I must note that I myself was indeed dancing — the “curmudgeon” described above — and the photographic evidence is available at the Flickr page to which I link here and above.]
Song of Songs 8:6-7 • September 24, 2005
“The Internet is what brings us together, tonight.”
The next time somebody tells you that technology will destroy our civilization because nobody actually talks to other people any more, remind them about this evening. Although Joey and Wendy didn’t exactly meet online, the Internet played a vital role, several vital roles, in bringing this holy occasion about. I became acquainted with Joey online; Wendy was working at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the three of us converged on the same place at the same moment as part of a conference on blogging. If – as we are taught – marriages are determined in heaven before we are born, then God has been clearly been an early adopter of cutting-edge social software, for which we all have much reason to give thanks over and above the expected celebration of a marriage.
Indeed, there’s a lot that’s “over and above,” a lot that’s excessive about this service. We surround the relatively simple human gesture of two people getting together with a remarkable assortment of elaborate ceremonies. After all, you don’t need a huppah to move in together; you don’t need candles to register your names with City Hall. Any old pop singer can marry any her childhood boyfriend with the approval of a bureaucrat, and fifty-five hours later she can unmarry him. No ninongs, no ninangs, no veil, no ketubah, no big deal.
It will not be so with us. Tonight, we indulge a proclivity toward excess; we ritualize extravagance. Tonight we observe the extraordinary ceremonies of two somewhat different families’ traditions, we multiply them by each another, because the excess in our behavior signifies something greater, something grander, than a pop tart’s legalized dalliance or a paper-pusher’s authenticating stamp. Mere change-of-address forms and legalities fall far short of substantiating the promises that Joey and Wendy have made before us here. This is a love that exemplifies the words from the Song of Solomon:
as a seal on your arm;
for love is strong as death.
Jealousy is as cruel as Sheol.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
Tonight, Wendy and Joey bind their lives together with a bond stronger than the human will, strong even as death itself, trusting that the God who chose them for one another will sustain their love through storm and danger, through tedium and trial.
Their love, their covenant exceeds the bounds that a mortal vocabulary can define. So when we gather tonight, we express this pledge, this risk, with fire, we enact it with cord and veil, we celebrate it with ceremony and prayer. For in the presence of the offer and acceptance of utmost intimacy, we recognize a power in whose image we are made, we recognize the invitation that blesses us without coercion, we recognize the love that possesses us in our offering, sparks from a very flame of the Lord, a burning ring of fire from a holy mountain.
Through the loosely-joined connections of technological acquaintance, God has wrought the tightest and most glorious of unities. Tonight our extravagant celebration, feasting, music and dance, will light the heavens with our joy and thanksgiving for these our friends, our children, the newest and most wonderful wife and husband you could find anywhere – on the earth or online.
With joy in our hearts, we pray that God bless you, Joey and Wendy, and may you flourish in peace, joy, and prosperity forever.