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The Vows

The Vows (Photo by Gord McArthur)

It’s been a few weeks since my last post.  It has been a busy time.  I left you hanging with the approaching nuptials.  The wedding is over, not the marriage, just the wedding part.  It went well and was a very happy day.

As you can see from the amateur photo above the couple had chosen an outdoor setting.  It is one of my favourite places, Fort Whyte Alive.   This time of year it becomes the staging ground or water for migrating water fowl.  Thousands of ducks and geese and others species gather and glean in neighbouring fields before continuing their arduous journey south.   Among the geese there is a great deal of coming together as families and groups and sharing the task of leading the flight.  The lead goose has to work much harder than those following who benefit from the air passage created by the first. So leadership is shared, giving each an opportunity and also a rest.

These seem like good lessons for marriage, too bad I didn’t think about this soon  enough to include in the homily!

The couple gambled on the weather being cooperative.  Mid September can be warm and sunny or cold and wet.  We all had faith that we would be able to hold the ceremony outside and then gather inside for the dinner and celebration.

The back-up plan was to hold the ceremony in the same room as the wedding feast, which would work, but not offer nearly as beautiful a setting.

Saturday morning came.  There were many clouds.  The weather forecast was for possible thunderstorms which ‘should’ clear by mid-afternoon.  The wedding ceremony was to start at 6pm.

By mid-day the thunderstorm was in full swing.  I started to worry about an electrical outage – all the ‘girls’ were getting themselves ready in our condo.

By about 2pm the thunderstorm had passed, the sun was coming out but the wind had decided to stay to help with the wedding.  Priests don’t appreciate the wind at outside ceremonies.  Pages of the service book are quite flimsy and rapidly turn over if not supervised most closely.

The wedding party drove to the wedding site.  All was being prepared.  The priest decided he needed to rearrange the chairs.  I thought it might be better if they faced the couple more directly, and also if there was room to actually move between the rows!

One microphone was found to be defective and a staff member sent out to buy a replacement connector.

But, everything was prepared with time to spare and the setting did indeed look perfect for a church wedding.  Yes, even though the ceremony was held outside in God’s creation, is was still a church wedding.  It was the church who gathered to witness and take part, it was the church that provided the support and encouragement to the couple.  And it was the church that provided the liturgy that beautifully explained the purpose of marriage and aided the couple in inviting God into their marriage.

All went well and right at the very conclusion of the service as I introduced the new couple a flock of geese did a low fly by right over our herds – honking their greetings and wishing the couple well.  And you know, there are still unbelievers out there!

A notation on Canada Geese:  These geese do not defecate during flight. There was no danger of them pooping on our parade.

So it was a wonderful privilege to be FOB (father of the bride) and OP (Officiating Priest) on such a lovely occasion.

The couple went on to enjoy a short honeymoon in New York City.  Susan and I gradually said good bye to our family visitors from England and California.  We then got out of town fast and headed for England and Scotland.  I hope to post some travel blogs over the next week or so.