Monday, June 29, 2009

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Challenging Interfaith Weddings.

I've done 'em all--Chinese Buddhist-Jewish, Moslem-Baptist, Celtic-Retro, Yoga weddings, and in Spanish and French, as well as English. The more challenging, the better I enjoy creating ceremonies to touch the heart of every participant. But special challenges sometimes come up when parents do not support their son's or daughter's decision to marry out of their faith. While the wedding couple had given me a heads-up, I was caught a little by surprise when, a few minutes after my arrival, the father of the groom sat me down to express his discontent. The gentleman was educated in his faith pre-Vatican II, and mostly needed to vent. He was half-way there in his heart, wanting to accept his new daughter-- he just needed to know that his sentiments were being respected. We talked about his values, their values, the values both faiths held in common. And he was surprised that I would take about Jesus under a chuppah and that I would ask the Catholics to say a prayer in Hebrew, that Jesus would probably have said over wine. A little later, the old gentleman caught me by the elbow. With tears in his eyes, he said, "Thank you. I would never have believed it possible."
I have often said, that if at least one parent doesn't come to me with tears of gratitude, I wouldn't consider that I'd done my job properly. So, I was delighted to know that my words struck the right chord. Because the future of a couple, of an entire family can ride on an auspcious beginning, the good will, respect and inclusion of all the family members, skillful communication, care and compassion are essential ingredients in greating a wedding worth remembering.