Wedding Homily for Joanne Beyer and John Bjodstrup

Preached at Magnolia Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA
on September 6, 2014

Where are you going?

“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

The question is, “where are you going?”

From the sounds of the rest of this brief passage from Song of Solomon, it could well be Seattle. A land of fruits and flowers, fragrant vines in blossom, birds singing. And at least for right now – “the rain is over and gone.”

“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

The question is, “where are you going?”


Where is this journey of marriage going to take you? If only we could know that, huh? If only we knew what is out there, what the years ahead will hold. If only we knew what the better or worse, the richer, the poorer, the sickness and the health might be. Maybe it’s just as well that we don’t. In marriage, you are not signing up for a part, as in a play. You are taking on a status. You are about to become one of the most honoring and honorable words in the language: husband; wife. And no matter what lies ahead – the riches or the poverty, the sickness or the health, the better or the worse – all of which will change, sometimes in the twink-ling of an eye… No matter what lies ahead, the one thing that will not change after these next few minutes is this. John: you will be Joanne’s husband. And Joanne, you will now be John’s wife; to have and to hold from this day forward.


The second text that you chose to have read this evening as you take on the honorable mantles of husband and wife is not a whole lot more helpful in describing the place to which you are arising and going away. But it does provide a bit more of a roadmap. A compass. A guide.


Wherever these next years will take you as Mr. and Mrs., the guide – the God – will have you arising and going away not toward yourselves – but toward one another and toward the world, in love:

Love is patient and kind the God Guide tells us.

Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.

Our guide, our God, goes on in the I Corinthians roadmap to direct:

Love does not insist on its own way. It isn’t irritable or resentful.

It rejoices in the truth, and bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.


It is in this love that God has carried you to this day. God has husbanded and wifed you before you ever knew each other in the sort of loving care and kindness that St. Paul describes. When it was hard to believe, God helped you believe all things. When it was difficult to hope, God brightened the horizon with hope. When you thought you could not go on, God endured with you, for you.


That is where you have been. But – so much more importantly – that is where you are also going as the future opens before you. That is the place for John and Joanne, the beloved, married couple to “arise and come away to” now that the winter is past. The care and kindness, the love that has held you to this day is now the love to share with one another and with the world around you in the way that God has first shared it with you. That is where you are going. It is a destination you will never reach, but it is a journey that is magnificent. And blessed. And from now on it will also be filled with the presence of one another as up until this day it has been filled for both of you with God.


Happy trails. Godspeed. Au revoir. Bon voyage. The time of singing has come.


In the name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.