Written by Daniel Hazard
1 Corinthians 7:1-9
"The husband should fulfill his duty to his wife."
Let's get real about weddings. Let's affirm the good intent of the writer of 1 Corinthians chapter 7 and then let us move on. Let's get real. Let's start with the people getting married and who they really are.
One of my recent weddings was with a Hindu bride and a Ecuadorian groom. The Hindu service was one night, the Catholic service a second night and our service the third. Our service was a blend. Another was with a Palestinian refugee and a Jewish American woman. Her parents were divorced twice so she has a biological mother and father as well as two stepmothers and two stepfathers. His father is a non-observant Muslim who is nevertheless requiring that the bride convert to Islam so as not to embarrass the family. The groom wryly told his father that he would also agree to convert to Judaism. The father didn't find that idea interesting.
Another wedding service happened in Guatemala at a hotel with Mayan carvings in the rock walls. The bride, Chinese-American and Catholic, was marrying the groom, an African American and Unitarian. This wedding started off like so many, saying; "Let's leave God out of it. " It ended in prayers and a ring-warming ceremony, where guests warmed the ring with prayers in their own words.
Yet another recent wedding proved to be the first lesbian wedding in Mexico to make the society page of El Pais. The mother interviewed all 100 of the staff people for the three-day event about their attitudes towards gender and orientation.
Fulfill your duty to your husband or wife? Or parents? Or self? Or to the society page? These are good questions, answered poorly in Corinthians and not much better by my wedding tour.
Fulfill a duty in us, O God, to be real, to be honest and not to make promises we can't keep so much as to promise to keep promises, ones we choose with those we love. Amen.
Order Spring Cleaning: 2013 Lent Devotionals - new from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group and other favorite UCC writers. Lent starts Feb. 13.