Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Worthy Code to Live By

Saturday evening, I officiated Ashley and Aaron’s wedding ceremony at the Boot Ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

The way Ashley and Aaron's relationship began is indicative of how the Mars and Venus dynamic between men and women is, shall we say, interesting...
Aaron recounts how he got the ball rolling: "I thought joining an organization would give me the opportunity to make some new friends. At this one particular meeting, the committee chairmen were trying to get some volunteers for different events. Ashley was the head of the Construction Student Association Banquet committee. I thought she was cute, so I decided to volunteer for this particular event. After a few gatherings and me talking to her casually, I mustered up the courage to ask her out on a date.  Our first date lasted four hours, so I would say it went pretty well."

Ashley describes her initial perceptions a little differently: "We had a couple of classes together… until he volunteered for a banquet fundraiser that I was heading up for our department. There he volunteered for about everything I needed help with. Being naive I thought he was just an eager student volunteering for everything to build his professional resume. After a couple fundraiser meetings he mustered up the courage to ask me out on a date." From there they dated for the rest of college, went their separate ways after it was over, reconnected in Dallas, and brought us to this joyous day.

So, what is it that caused that initial volunteering gig there turn into a lifelong commitment? Aaron explains it simply and beautifully, "I believe the reason that we decided to take this life journey together is simply because we are in love with each other.  I believe that we both make each other better people. We both have each other's back no matter what the situation is, and we push each other on many different levels."

Ashley agrees, but she elaborates and adds something fascinating: "I want to marry Aaron because he is not only my best friend but he is my person. I feel that he makes up for my shortcomings, and together I feel that we complement each other and push each other to do our very best. "When I think of how to describe him to others, the very first thing that comes to mind is that he is a good man. He will always stands up for what is right, be truthful even when it’s not the easiest thing to do, and when he cares about someone, he puts their needs before his own and he protects them like family..."

My friends, that would be a worthy code to live by, a code that both Ashley and Aaron have shown they are committed too:
• Stand up for what is right;
• Be truthful even when it’s not the easiest thing to do;
• Put the needs of others before your own.
Let us all strive to live up these ideals.

Monday, April 10, 2017


Sunday morning, Rev. Randy Dicken and I co-officiated Eve and Derek’s wedding, at the Stonegate Mansion, in Fort Worth, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Eve and Derek might just have chosen the best week for an interfaith Jewish-Christian marriage. On top of that, this might just be the best week for a wedding that unites not just two individuals, but two young families. Why do I say that? Well, this week, our faiths celebrate two holidays, Passover and Easter.

What are Passover and Easter all about? I don't mean the minute details of the stories we tell. I mean what overarching themes are embedded within these celebrations? What is at the core of these holidays that are not just central to our religions, but critical to their founding myths?

Simple; they are all about renewal. They are, after all, Spring holidays. As such they draw on aspects of the human experience that have their roots deeply embedded in the human psyche, that precede the dawn of our great faiths.

Let's think about that word for a moment, renewal. What does it imply? Renew is different from just new. It implies both something new, but also a continuation of something that existed before. Spring, after all, does not, if you will, spring out of nowhere. It emerges from Winter, as the physical world renews itself.

That is what bringing two families together, as we do here today, is all about. That is why earlier in this ceremony, we took a moment to acknowledge the three important individuals that share the stage with Eve and Derek here today. That is why later this week both Christians and Jews will incorporate eggs into their rituals. Because, regardless of the philosophical abstract question regarding what came first, the Easter egg and the egg on the Seder plate were both definitely preceded by the chicken.

This spirit of renewal is what Eve draws on when she says, "Our love and commitment (will) allow us to build a solid foundation and a happy home for our children... It is important to us to show our children what a happy, healthy marriage is." And it is what Derek draws on when he says, "My desire to marry is because I would like to share my life with Eve... I love Eve and want her to know that I want to spend my life with her. It is time... to officially tie the knot."