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The Wedding of Phillipa Jannice Collis
and Barry William McKimm
South Sydney Uniting Church
October 11, 2014

1 Corinthians 13:1-13; John 15:9-17

‘Making promises’

God be with you ...

A rare opportunity to welcome family and friends to South Sydney. One of those occasions to cherish, because Mum has always been concerned to see me happy and today we celebrate her happiness (and Barry’s too!).

I am honoured to have been invited to preside on this happy day and full of admiration and respect that they would choose this place as the venue for their mutual promise-making. It might have been easier for them to elope, to have arranged a ceremony on a cruise ship or in Honolulu! I’d like to acknowledge a love that risks vulnerability and maybe some anxiety for the sake of proud and public promise-making and for the benefit of those with whom they share the happiness of this day. Thank you, Phillipa and Barry, for including us.

Thank you for being the ministers here today. The promises you make in all their bold vulnerability and trembling hopefulness are the priestly acts that will renew life in you and for us too.

I could talk about a sacramental nature of marriage that sees two human partners speak words of love to one another just as God bestows a loving word on both of them. I could talk about a mysticism of promise.

In Christian theology God speaks a Word and good things happen creation happens. God speaks a Word or Promise in the incarnate humanity of Christ who learns wisdom, grows in wisdom, befriends the persecuted and the scapegoated, protests injustice and hypocrisy, does what he can at great personal cost to bring healing, understanding, freedom from fear, freedom for life. Jesus crucified and risen is God’s vow to us and to the world.

These are things I/we can talk about. But today, Barry and Phillipa, the promises you make are the priestly acts or actions that will renew life in you and for us too. Your words will become for us the Word of God. Your promises will become for us the Promise of God.

And we all participate in this Word or Promise or Love. This Love that is patient, kind, not jealous or snobbish, rude or self-seeking, not prone to anger nor brooding over injuries. We participate in this Love that rejoices in the truth and “never fails”.

Some of us will call it faith. Some of us will call it hope or happiness. We might not have a word for it at all but simply feel glad to be here with you and for you. Some of us will sing. Some of us will cry. One of us will scatter rose petals down the aisle.

For my part I’ll remember that even in the week of her wedding my mum showed me the usual care and graciousness that accepts a son’s mismanagement of time and self-absorption. Accepts as in forgives. Forgives as in gives first, gives generously. I’ll remember that Barry trusted a future step-son-cleric with raw affection for his late mother and grandmother. I’ll remember his earnestness in sharing news of an engagement with a house full of noisy family on Christmas Night. I’ll remember that he brought life-giving happiness into my mother’s life.

I pray that this homily and gathering today can be a blessing upon you both. I pray that your promise-making makes a difference and goes on making a difference in your own hearts and lives and in the lives of those dear to you and near you. I pray for you and with you, always. Amen.