Saturday April 13 was a joyful rainy day in Denton as we gathered for the marriage of our Briarwood Retreat Center/Briarwood Leadership Center director Dr. Robert Smith and his wife Fatemeh. I was honored to preside over the service, the second marriage of a pastor in NT-NL Synod, ELCA, in as many months. This time also my two younger children and my spouse (before she had to slip off to teach our Parish Lay Ministry Academy class) were also able to join in the festivities.
The service, created by Robert and Fatemeh with my input, drew heavily on our ELW liturgy. I presided over the service as a Christian leader. But it was important the service also honored and was sensitive to Fatemeh’s family and their Muslim heritage. Additionally, they recognized the new family connections they were creating with their children from previous marriage.
It was an honor to take part in this holy occasion and to celebrate the commitment they made to each other. In our ever more diverse, interfaith, and complex world I spoke to them about how amazing it was that God has brought them and us together, the possibilities they have and represent in their life together, and ultimately about promise. The promises they make to each other but also the recognition that the God of Abraham, our God, is a God of promise and will sustain us in our lives as we journey together.
We rejoice with Robert and Fatemeh and their families as they embark on this new part of their lives. I hope you will find time on Saturday at our assembly or at the Briarwood Gala May 4th to greet and get to know Robert and hear of his vision for our work together. #NTNL #BWTX #InMissionTogether