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July 22, 2005

Wedding wishes

I don’t know yet what prayer the Presbyterian minister will say Sunday evening for Tracy and Henrique as they are married. I’m just glad she will be there to bless them.

Tracy’s rabbi said “No” to the opportunity. Henrique, a Roman Catholic from Brazil, did not even ask a priest. The minister is a colleague of Tracy’s mother—both work at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago where the minister is chaplain and Tracy’s mother a social worker on the heart transplant floor. They work together on matters of life and death, of love and loss.
   
The couple met while studying in Madrid in a graduate business program—two young people among an international group. Several of these friends are flying in for the celebration.
   
Our children grow up in an ever smaller world, and that’s the world many of us wish for...one in which we know people of other cultures and countries and faiths. And knowing leads to understanding and, sometimes, when we’re blest, to love.
   
Ah, but then some people protest. Not the parents of Tracy and Henrique. Each set is welcoming their child’s mate with open hearts and arms. No one has ignored the fact of the different faiths. I’ve talked with Tracy, who I’ve known since before she was born and whose bat mitzvah I attended. I know she would wish for the presence, for the blessing of her rabbi. I told her simply that God will be present.
   
And so I turn to perhaps the most beloved blessing for all God’s children.
   
“You shall say to them,” the Lord instructs Moses (Numbers 6:23-26):
   
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord life up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
And let the people say “Amen!”

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