We are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the union of two separate lives. We have come to unite Neil and Lisa in marriage... to rejoice with them in this public declaration of love. It is a decision into which they do not enter lightly, but rather one which they undertake with great consideration and hope.
Neil and Lisa chose September 18 as the date for this celebration because it has special significance for them. One year ago today, Neil asked Lisa to marry him. Also on this day in 1923, Neil's mother, Elaine, was born. She would have been 65 today.
Neil and Lisa are pleased to have the presence of of friends and family on this most memorable day. Over the years, each one of you has given something of yourself into their lives. They want you to know that your love, guidance, and friendship have helped shape their lives, and your attendance today is testimony to that love and friendship.
These are the words of Kahlil Gibran, upon marriage:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. You shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone... even as the strings of the lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of nature can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together. For the pillars of the temple stand apart. And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
By choosing to link your lives together in the ceremonious tradition of marriage, the two of you are telling the world that not only do you love each other, but but you wish to be recognized as a family unto yourselves. You have come together from two separate backgrounds and experiences, and you have united your families to create a new one. All of us here today join in expressing our wishes for your happiness. We wish for you a love that will forever give you pleasure and friendship... a love that continually evolves and provides energy to face the responsibilities of daily life. We wish for you a home... not a place of stone and wood, but an island of serenity in a frenzied world, a place of private joy and retreat. We wish for you a long life filled with romance and laughter.
Neil, will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?
Neil: I will.
Lisa, will you have this man to be your husband, to live together in the Covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?
Lisa: I will.
Neil and Lisa join hands.
Neil: I, Neil, take thee, Lisa, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.
LIsa: I, Lisa, take thee, Neil, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.
(Neil places the ring on Lisa's finger, and says): This is my beloved and this is my friend. I give you this ring as a symbol of my enunding unending love (I was nervous, okay?). With this ring, I thee wed.
(LIsa places the ring on Neil's finger, and says): This is my beloved and this is my friend. I give you this ring as a symbol of my unending love. With this ring, I thee wed.
A circle is the symbol of the sun, the earth, the universe. As circles, your rings have no beginning and no ending. Let them be symbols of unending love and commitment, an outward symbol of an inward choice. Bless those who give and those who wear them.
Lisa and Neil, you have honored us in allowing all of us to share in this special day and rite of passage. I ask for a quiet moment during which we may all silently extend our love, energy, and prayers for your future.
(Dr. Kilpack pours wine)
Into this cup is poured wine, bitter and sweet, even as life itself will pour its bitterness and sweetness into your marriage. Only in the deepest intimacy of man and woman may the bitterness of life be so blended with the sweet, that the love you share may be full and rich. Drink now, and may the cup of your life be always full and running over.
(We drink, and then I smash the glass.)
And now, by the authority vested in me, I pronounce you husband and wife.