Wedding: The Journey Home

judy and long 1.jpg
Lavender Pham Tran Wedding: The Journey Home
Officiated today at the wedding of Judy and Long at “Lavendula” Swiss-Italian Lavender Farm near Hepburn Springs, 1.5 hours from Melbourne. A simply stunning venue at this time of year!
The ceremony was the ‘Aussie’ part of the day, following a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony at the brides family’s house in morning. The real challenge for Judy (Evangelical)and Long (Catholic)was trying to do something that honoured their Vietnamese and church heritage whilst being honest about the limits of its value in where they see themselves now and in the future. The references to Catholic perspective on vocation and a bit of water sprinkling / blessing seemed to be appreciated by the traditional Catholic crowd concerned about the outdoor/non church wedding.
Journey of Healing and Finding Home were themes we workshoped and the Hebrews passage worked a treat.
Having to get back to the big Viet reception in Melbourne, 400+ ppl, complete with kareoke, Long and Judy had all their family photos done at the rehershal. Some very worried farm owners thought they had booked the wrong date when a whole convoy of dressed up Viet’s hit the farm a week early!
Read on for the ceremony….

The Lavender Pham Tran Wedding: The Journey Home
Prelude Music: Jazz
Introduction: Marcus Curnow
Music: Over the Rainbow/ Wonderful World- Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Welcome: Marcus Curnow
On behalf of Long and Judy, a warm welcome to this beautiful place today. In holding the wedding in this place Judy and Long are inviting us to “smell the flowers” both literally but metaphorically.
Lavender comes from the Latin “lavare” which means to wash. It is a flower used in aromatherapy for healing, symbolising peace and reconciliation.
In shaping the ceremony today. The themes of a Journey of Healing and Finding a Home have been very important to Judy and Long.
Their hopes are that this is a space where, like the properties of lavender, we can each feel a sense of peace. A place where you feel free to be yourself and at home. To acknowledge the journey Long and Minh have been on and the home they have found in each others love.
Prayer: Marcus Curnow
Let us open the ceremony with a prayer
Instead of closing your eyes though I ask you to open them and to be aware of your surrounds.
Be aware of your senses, what you see, hear, smell, breathe deeply and take it in.
Allow yourself to appreciate the connection and dependence we have with the creation in which we live.
Let us give thanks to the Creator who sustains all of this.
Today we have journeyed to this place,
Be aware of the journey you have taken,
The business of preparation,
the sights and sounds along the way.
On an occasion like this, let us be aware of our emotions,
What is it that we bring to this place and this celebration today?
What is that you feel?
Perhaps goodwill, a sense of connection with Judy and Long and others, excited hopes for them, A desire to let go, to enjoy and celebrate.
Or perhaps feelings that are not so happy. Weddings can bring up painful memories, of people who are not here, regrets, a reminder of relationships that have failed or that remain unreconciled.
God you teach and allow us to be honest.
And so we bring our journeys’ with all of their memories of times shared with Minh and Long.
The good and the bad.
Our hopes, as well as our fears for their future.
We let go and we offer them to you.
May we know the safe home of your presence and grace as we share this time with family and friends.
Move amongst us as we unite Long and Minh in the power of your love.
Song: Marie Cris Tagala- Sulte His Eye is on the Sparrow.
Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches
I know He watches
I know He watches me
Words by Civilla D. Martin, 1905
Reading: Jason, Tuan, Cuong
We will now hear a reading that is an affirmation of how God sees us.
Don’t let this be a quaint wedding reading that washes over you.
Judy and Long want you to listen closely, because they feel that it has been a hard journey coming to this understanding of themselves and their relationship to God and that without this understanding they would not be here today. Jason, Tuan, Cuong have been have been part of that journey since school
A friendship begins (Psalm 139): Henri Nouwen
“I have called you by name, from the very beginning.
You are mine and I am yours.
You are my beloved, on you my favour rests.
I have moulded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you in your mother’s womb.
I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace.
I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child.
I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step.
Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch.
I will give you food that will satisfy all you hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst.
I will not hide my face from you.
You belong to me.
I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover and your spouse… yes, even your child… wherever you are I will be.
Nothing will separate us.
We are one.”
Declaration of Call: Marcus Curnow
In the Roman Catholic tradition of which Long is a part, marriage is considered a religious vocation. Like religious brothers and sisters today you will make certain vows. Catholic monks and nuns swear vows of Stability, Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Long and Minh, today you will not make a vow of Stability: but you will make a commitment for life. You will not take a vow of Chastity but you will take a vow of Sexual fidelity. You will not take a vow of poverty but you will vow to share all possessions. You will not vow obedience but you will mutual influence and submission.
The word vocation means “voice” And so marriage is more than a response to a private love between you, it is a divine call to a holy life; a lifelong process of listening for God’s summons, hearing Gods voice and responding to God’s call.
Long and Minh:
Having heard the nature of the call. Of your own free will, understanding the responsibility and commitment it invites, will you choose to belong to each other in the vocation of marriage?
We will
Parents and siblings (they stand)
Judy and Long will light incense in memory of Longs mother, Tri.
Thanh, Thoai and Long, you have raised Judy and Long out of the vocation of your own marriage.
Lan, Michelle and Jimmy; Tan, Tu, Tien, and Tam you have grown up alongside them.
Will you give your blessing to their marriage and share in its joys and challenges as they embark on this way of life together
We will
Then receive the blessing of God which falls like dew from heaven upon this place,
Lavender and Water, Peace and Life, entwined. Amen (Sprinkle with sprigg of dried Lavender dipped in mix of Lavender Oil and water)
Community of family and friends (they stand)
Will you give your blessing and will you support them as they embark on this way of life together.
We will
Then receive the blessing of God which falls like dew from heaven upon this place,
Lavender and Water, Peace and Life, entwined. Amen (Sprinkle with sprigg of dried Lavender dipped in mix of Lavender Oil and water)
Community Song: West Footscray Uniting Church
Reading: Lina Nguyen Hebrews 11: 13-16
Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it a way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were refugees; strangers and nomads in this world. People who live this way make it plain they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back anytime they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that – heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a Home waiting for them.
Hebrews 11:13-16
Homily: Marcus Curnow
“The Journey Home” : Finding Home in Creation, The Call and The
Promise of Marriage
The Covenanting:

I, Long Pham, feel greatly blessed by the privilege of knowing you and falling in love with you. You are one of the best things that happened to me on this earth. Thank you for the blessings and joys you bring into my life. You’re one of the most beautiful person I’ve ever met. I love your sense of righteousness and your yearning to grow in God’s knowledge and character. I am truly overwhelmed by the intensity of your love. I am charmed by your quirkiness. You make my journey home on this earth so much delightful. Judy, in the name of our LORD and Saviour Jesus, I make my promise to you that I will walk with you for the rest of our journey here on earth, I will always be by your side, through the valleys of darkness, over the mountains of joy and peace. I will love you for eternity, just the way God created you.
Long Thanh Pham, Your breathe of life is so precious to me, I love your belovedness, (your Longyness), your uniqueness, the very fiber of your being amazes me each day. You are all and more that I desire.
I, Judy Tran take the risk in choosing you (love) rather than fear
I take the risk in loving you and being loved back
It’s been really hard but really rewarding learning to love each other
So I just want to encourage us, appreciate and affirm our growth in our journey so far
I devote my whole being only to you until my last breath on this earth
May that be my physical being, spiritual, emotional or mental
I will learn, grow and bring you joy by encouraging us to continue to hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise (Hebrews 10: 23)
I make an oath to journey with you and love you dearly as an intimate life partner, until it is time to go home to our Father in Heaven
I love you Longy!
Marcus: Blesses rings with oil/water
(Holds up rings) The rings, symbols of belonging and of everlasting love.
Long: I give you this ring, a symbol of our belonging in the circle of God’s covenant love.
Judy: I give you this ring, a symbol of our ever-lasting covenant love.
Blessing and Pronouncement
Judy and Long Kneel (Receive sign of cross on forehead)
Receive the blessing of God
which falls like dew from heaven upon this place,
Lavender and Water,
Peace and Life, entwined,
Bind you together, and to the call and promises of Creator God the source of all love.
May the love of the Holy Trinity enfold you,
Bringing peace beyond all understanding, be with you and remain with you, and all you love, now and forever.
ALL: Amen
Long and Minh, Today in this place, before God, your family and friends you have exchanged promises and exchanged symbols to belong to each other forevermore. And so in accord with the laws of this land and in the name of Creator God from whom all authority and love derive,
I pronounce you husband and wife.
The Kiss
Prayers: David Tolputt
Aunty Jeanette
Signing of the Register:
Musical Item: Jazz
Blessing and Announcement of Couple: Marcus Curnow
You are God’s servants gifted with dreams and visions.
Upon you rests the grace of God like flames of fire.
Love and serve the Lord in the strength of the Spirirt.
May the deep peace of Christ be with you,
The strong arms of God sustain you,
And the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen you
in every way.
Friends, one journey ends, the next next one begins.
I present to you Pham-Tran Long and Minh; Judy and Long.
Recessional: Over the Rainbow/ Wonderful World- Israel Kamakawiwo’ole


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