I make no apology for re-posting Rembrandt's "The Jewish Bride" from the Rijksmuseum. Something very special happened on Wednesday. Well, if I tell you that nine of my family flew by private plane to Paris to celebrate the Ruby wedding of my sister and brother-in-law in a restaurant facing Notre-Dame Cathedral, then something wonderful clearly did happen. But what I mean is something happened on a deeper level than this extravagant celebration of life. And not just forty years of married life, but, given the fact that both of them have suffered from cancer over the last few years, this was a celebration of life itself. The very extravagance of the moment seemed to point to something about love, and its dynamic energy that will not be contained. Such was the desire to celebrate that nothing ordinary would do.
As we relaxed back at my sister's house in the evening, I found myself wondering if it had all really happened. Had I really eaten beef tartare facing Notre Dame just a few hours before? For the trip contained that other ingredient that speaks of love - mystery. It was as if we were suddenly parachuted into Paris, ate, drank, enjoyed one another's company, toasted the couple - in a different world, lifted, for a moment, out of the ordinary.
I guess what I am trying to say is that this was for me - and maybe for others - really a spiritual event as well as an utterly enjoyable and very worldly one. It connected with sign and meaning, with love and mystery, with hope and thanksgiving, and a whole list of other deeply human realities. In the language of my world, it took on the garb of a liturgy of life and of love. It quite simply worked, and on so many levels.
So thank you to my family, and especially to Ju and Graham, for making this sacrament - the marriage and the day - work.