On August 31, 2014 I officiated the wedding of a childhood friend. I did so not as a member of the clergy, but as a friend who had received a one-day designation to solemnize a marriage from the Governor of the State of Massachusetts, Deval L. Patrick. The following is the homily I gave:

Thank you for that beautiful reading, Alison. Love is from God. It is a friendship caught fire. You cannot will yourself into love. You cannot make someone else love you. It’s a GIFT. And it’s a holy gift.

And like all things that are holy and sacred there is a delicate tension always between Receiving and Giving, Blessing and Sharing, Call and Response, FAITH AND WORKS.

And as those who have been married for a while will tell you – marriage is work. Marriage is the BOLD response that a couple takes when they fully acknowledge the gift of love they have received. It’s something that two people do of their own will, their own determination, not to squander the flame of love they realize they have been so blessed to receive.

It is all to easy to squander life. It’s easy to be passive. Walk the path of least resistance. Go with the flow. See how things roll. Take things as they come.

But taking the step of marriage is the opposite of that life. Marriage is for the BOLD. It’s for those who are willing to not just follow the highs of happiness – but rather those who are willing to risk everything to be deeply and profoundly in Love. To give themselves to one another. To commit to Love at any cost.

It’s no accident that Becky and Kyle are getting married. True, their love story confirms that their meeting was serendipitous – how many times did they pass each other in the halls of Elon as students before they met as alumni? Their romance is perhaps even a testimony to fate. But their wedding – their marriage – the step that they are taking today speaks to the their own character. Their own willingness to live fully and richly. To choose commitment over convenience.

Becky and Kyle are getting married today because they are the kind of people who do not take love – or life for granted. They are two people who grab life for all its worth. They are the kind of people who quit their jobs and travel through Europe together for months – because who wouldn’t want to do that? Everyone wants to do that, but not everyone has the courage to.

And true love takes courage. All the best things in life do.

Those of us who grew up with Becky have always knows she was an artist. She has a gift for creating beauty in the spaces and experiences around her. And as I’ve gotten to know Kyle now – I see that he is an artist too. Both Kyle and Becky share a passion for creating beauty and life around them. This is the highest art there is.

And in just a few moments, both Kyle and Becky will begin the biggest and most important work of art of their life. They will do it together. Each day the tapestry of their life, their love, and their family will be stitched together with the thread of God-given Love and the hard work of their own hands. But over time, the gifts of Love and the works of marriage will become indistinguishable.

That is the masterpiece of a shared life.

May it be so. Amen