My cousin Sam arriving at her Wedding at Jeffcott, Rocks Reserve near Donald in Western Victoria over the weekend. A very significant place for my family as I indicated in the introduction and homily during the ceremony below…
My highlights included the grooms suit matching the colour of the 4WD and the shotgun salute at the announcement of the couple…
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not a shotgun wedding, but we are going to send them off with a BANG! I give you…
I’m pleased that it’s becoming an Australian thing to do at the outset of public ceremonies, to acknowledge the traditional owners and Aboriginal communities of a particular place, their elders past and present and the special connection to Country they have maintained through their culture for thousands of years.
Marriage is a also a celebration of the connection and dependence we have with the land on which we stand today.
It is a symbol that unending love is central to the universe, a promise and gift of the Creator who demonstrated this in the self giving love of Christ.
Acknowledging the elders of the ancient peoples of this place gives us opportunity to reflect upon and to recognise our own elders.
The promises of God have been significant in shaping the committments made by the McEwen family who have since the 1870’s been joined in marriage, formed households and farmed this land upon which we stand.
Promises have power! It’s something that is foundational to us. Our ability to use our words and make promises to each other makes us human, distinct from the sheep in the paddock.
Today through your vows to each other you are participating in the promises that have created and sustained this landscape and the great circle of life that surrounds you here in these people and this place. This fidelity to each other and to this place makes this significant, sacred turf for us all.
It has the power to draw us back from many places.
It is an honour to be here as a cousin but also bring my own son, Ewen, named after the family, to this place for this occasion…
Our reading from 1 Corinthians 13 on the nature of Love is a traditional wedding reading with a poetic flow that can easily wash over us when we are feeling romantic at weddings. Ah ‘Love is this, love is that….’. We rarely hear at weddings that this chapter comes in the midst of a whole argument where the Apostle Paul is desperately trying to hang together his community in Corinth that is being torn apart by the forces of the world around it and tearing itself apart with competing egos power plays, spiritual, economic and sexual abuse. It seems some things never change in the church!
BUT It is in this context that we hear these statements about love. Sam and Chris, Marriage and the promises you make today are not simply for each other, they hang communities together. They connect you with the generations of family from which you come, and significantly, standing on this patch of land, they connect us with the earth and the forces of nature through sexuality and the economic life of our household. Food and sex!
Unless these forces are understood within vows of fidelity to the values of love they can easily, like in Corinth, become destructive and exploit others.
I know the community you have sought to create in your household. In the unity of your immediate family in difficult circumstances. In the love you have for your family and friends and how you have valued them being apart of today’s celebration..
Like in Corinth this can be difficult. You know how hard and messy community can be. Your promises today have a power. A power to strengthen the communal bonds between yourselves, your biological and spiritual families, the land and Creator upon whom we depend…