Wedding Homily. Nov. 18. Naval Academy.
The Wedding of two Springbrook grads and neighborhood youth become young adults.
Ryan and Ellen, one of the popular idioms for getting married is to “tie the knot.” The saying originates to a time when more things had to be tied, as to hold them together from getting loosed. Stringed packages, clothing, shoelaces, piles of books, and tents were things to be tied up, as well as one’s transportation vehicle needing a tying up—I am speaking of one’s horse (!)—it was tied up to the post. It’s an idiom phrase still around today—to tie the knot—that someone slid over to defining a marriage promise, as one “tied the knot” to stay together, it hopefully was not to unravel or loosen.
A wedding at this Navy Cathedral fits in with this old idiom. Many midshipmen here get taught about knot-making. Some of them can teach you a dozen various ways to tie a knot, depending on the need. There is the “midshipmen’s knot.” There is the near-simple cleat hitch, too, using a figure 8 wrap around a cleat. There is a running bowline, or the buntline hitch. If you have a large vessel, there are mooring lines, and knotty procedures for tying up a Navy craft or ship. Yachts in Annapolis have their way of doubling up a vessel, too, to keep them safe in port, and from drifting away across to the Eastern shore!
I feel like today we are witnessing you “double up” for marriage.
The importance of the strength or quality of the ropes or lines cannot be ignored with all of this tying up. You must have that aspect right with the needed might.
Let’s ‘tie’ all of this to marriage. The Scriptures tell you have to be tied together, to keep as one, so as to be strong against what might storm or wash into or slap into your relationship. Love that is of God is needed here for a marriage, the two-in-one, covenant relationship knot. 1st Corinthians 13 says “strive for the greater gifts… the love that is of God, to be in you, for holy kindness, for godly patience, for humility and for that other-centered attitude called servanthood.” What else does it say? It says how you you need lines of bearing things as one, and believing and trusting together, and in making a promise of love that “I will not fail you, relying on the Grace of God, of which I will keep praying for, which we will keep praying for, to make this relationship work out well. To God’s glory.
So here you are, Ryan and Ellen, in this Chapel of the Navy, petitioning God Almighty, Who is Strong to Save, to help you in this most noble vocation, of loving a spouse in marriage, and of being loved by them always, and of being one in family under God, Who is strong to save.
In the “knot” you tie, Christ the Son comes in Holy Sacrament to be in your bond, and His Spirit comes and blesses you, as you exchange vows. I have given you a foot of a three-ply strong line today. It is made of three lines joined tightly. See yourselves as two of them woven as one, and the third line as Christ. He is the secret love line to “grace” your union; He’s the eternal, holy line in your “tying the knot.” The Bible has a verse of wisdom that says “a three-ply cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes) You’ll see that the foot of rope I gave you is decently strong. Let it represent what you launched here today. Three to get married. Ryan. Ellen. And The Lord in your union. Keep this cord and Bible verse in the case I provide you today to remember this mystery of Sacrament in Holy Matrimony.
I am glad for your story, from mystery dating, to being from the same neighborhood, to having dads who knew one another several decades ago. It’s a great story and reality.
In knowing your stories a bit, I can add in here: Go Navy. Roll Tide. And Go Springbook. (‘Blue Demons, are you kidding me?!)
Here is hoping that your wedded love will be like a living poem, a sonnet of deep charity and mutual giving. Here is hoping that your wedded union will be like a great, rhyming song, that never grows old, and satisfies and fulfills in every play, always in concert, that is, you with one another, as an ever-pleasing tune.
I start with the image of poem and song, for I have realized that there are few and far-between rhyming ones that mention Holy Marriage or Holy Matrimony in them. I think the problem is that neither word has many good rhymes to it. Take marriage, for instance. What rhymes with marriage? Yes, carriage! It was five decades ago that Frank Sinatra recorded “Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, go together like a horse and carriage.” So, carriage is the best word out there to rhyme with marriage. That certainly doesn’t help our poets out at all these days. We don’t use carriages much anymore!
Lightheartedly, I continue on about this rhyming deficiency for marriage poems and songs.
Porridge might be the next closest rhyme; as in, our marriage is like a fine porridge. Uh, again, this image and rhyme doesn’t really work. The only half-decent porridge I ever got was at Cracker Barrel, some years ago in Waldorf, Md. But that barley porridge didn’t conjure up (in my head) of any wedded bliss or love connections as I slurped it!
The next best word to pair with marriage is mirage, which is not a rhyme but a homophone, a similarly sounding word. Yet marriage is real, not a mirage nor fantasy. So, we throw out mirage! It won’t make it into any song about marriage.
So, what this means, Ryan and Ellen, is that the dearth of poetic lines in literature makes it all so necessary that your lives be that living, beautiful poem of marriage. Couple yourselves in phrases of trust and cooperation, and love, and in possibilities, dreams, and plans—-and you have a good marriage, like an edifying poem.
Take also the words of “Holy Matrimony” and tell me how many great rhyming songs has it spoken of? It’s none. Because Holy Matrimony rhymes with little. Little but macaroni. “I entered Holy Matrimony, then had a plate of macaroni.” ‘See, it doesn’t have the making of a hit song! What else does really rhyme with Matrimony? How about macrimony? It is defined as being in the act of great upset with one’s computer. Thus: “I knew that Holy Matrimony, would rest my Apple macrimony, or soothe my troubled acrimony, and so I give this testimony.” Nah, I’m sorry, but I don’t imagine Blake Shelton or Adele or Chance the Rapper getting a Grammy on that awful rhyme.
Therefore, again, you both, Ryan and Ellen, need to be a living song (!) that’s always playing and speaking about of how marriage is such a beautiful shared thing.
Let us have you exchange consent and vows for your living out Marriage in the Church, Holy Matrimony.