To be amazed by love is not to be blinded but
to let the flare of wonder fill you
like air filling a sail.
Isn’t this the voice of God at work?
Even his silence breathes life into you, a golden sigh as fresh
as Eden. To love someone is not to lose anything,
but to gain it in giving it all away.
~Luci Shaw from “Amazed by Love” in Water Lines
Lovers must not live for themselves alone.
They must finally turn their gaze at one another
back toward the community.
If they had only themselves to consider,
lovers would not need to marry,
but they must think of others and of other things.
They say their vows to the community as much as to one another,
and the community gathers around them
to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and on its own.
It gathers around them because it understands how necessary,
how joyful, and how fearful this joining is.
These lovers, pledging themselves to one another “until death,”
are giving themselves away…
Lovers, then, “die” into their union with one another
as a soul “dies” into its union with God.
And so, here, at the very heart of community life,
we find … this momentous giving.
If the community cannot protect this giving,
it can protect nothing—and our time is proving that this is so.
~Wendell Berry from Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community
Before God and this gathering, I vow from my heart and spirit that I will be your wife/husband for as long as we both shall live.
I will love you with faithfulness, knowing its importance in sustaining us through good times and bad.
I will love you with respect, serving your greatest good and supporting your continued growth.
I will love you with compassion, knowing the strength and power of forgiveness.
I will love you with hope, remembering our shared belief in the grace of God and His guidance of our marriage.
“And at home, by the fire, whenever you look up, there I shall be–and whenever I look up, there will be you.”
(our wedding vows for our September 19, 1981 wedding at First Seattle Christian Reformed Church — the last line adapted from Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd”)