Wedding of Ted and Rhoda, widower and widow
I feel lost for words. What can I say, Ted and Rhoda, that you don’t already know, for your have had a wide experience of life in all its moods. So what can I say? I shall congratulate you for your own loving nature, for your welcoming family, for your relationship with the Parish and for your closeness to your God who has long inspired you.
The reading from the Song of Songs suits this occasion perfectly. ‘The winter is past, the rains are over and gone’. You have shed your tears. You have known the aching loneliness and the empty house. But now the time of grieving is at an end. A second spring has come. You have both found someone to love, someone to whom you can commit yourself and who will return your love. In this you are indeed blest. The Song goes on: ‘Flowers appear on the earth. The season of glad songs has come. The blossoming vines give out their fragrance.’ So now in the sunshine of your love the world becomes bright again, for happiness gives the rainbow its colour; joy gives the wine its flavour. Your days are sweeter now because of your presence to each other. The Song goes on, ‘My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock, in the coverts of the cliff, show me your face’. You are both on a journey of discovery. You already enjoy a smile that others cannot know; that knowing look, which penetrates into the soul. You have had the courage to step out into new paths of intimacy. For this we congratulate you. You have shown the freedom of heart to fall in love and to undertake the changes which love requires. The Song goes on: ‘Let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet’. This voice resonates in you even when you are apart from each other. Gone are the echoing rooms and the lonely walk. You are made whole again, for we are made for love and a lonely person is only half a human.
You are blessed too in your family and friends who have welcomed your growing relationship and are here today to celebrate your commitment. The Parish, too, has come to bask in the sunshine of your love. The presence of so many parishioners is a sign of the respect and affection in which you are held and a recognition of the contribution you have made.
Your love is important for us all. We are made happy by the sight of your happiness. We more easily believe in an everlasting love when we see you commit yourselves again to love. People who have been loved are more easily able love. If we love each other it is because we have first been convinced, somehow, of a love that comes from above. When we are surrounded by an infinite love, our own love knows no bounds. Love is at the beginning and end of all things. Your love is for us a sacrament of divine love, showing us what we cannot see. As St John says in the Second Reading: ‘No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us.’ So we ask you to show us your love so that God’s love may indeed become perfect in us.
We will now hear you proclaim each other to be husband and wife.