The Church’s Open Door

It is right to give you thanks, most gracious God, and to praise you for the unfailing love and care and for the great joy and comfort you have bestowed upon us in the gift of human love. We give you praise and thanks for those couples married tonight and the marriage covenant they have made. Pour out the abundance of your grace upon them. Keep them in your steadfast love; protect them from all danger; fill them with your wisdom and peace; lead them in holy service to each other and the world; and, finally, bring them to that table where all your saints feast for ever.

May God the Source of Life, God the Word of Love and God the Spirit of Truth bless, preserve, and keep you; God mercifully look upon you with favor and fill you with all blessing and grace; that you may faithfully live together in this life and be a light to the world until you come into the age of life everlasting. Amen.

–Adapted from a form set forth by Bishop John Bryson Chane, for use in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC for the marriage and blessing of relationships between members of the same sex, as provided in the Book of Common Prayer, p. 13 (courtesy of Episcopal Archives)

At midnight on August 1st (in just about two hours!), Minnesota will become the 13th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. This comes after a long and arduous battle to defeat a ridiculous ballot initiative aimed at amending the state constitution, as well as a bipartisan congressional commitment to the good, hard working, inclusive values upon which this state has long prided itself.

The first few ceremonies performed in the city of Minneapolis will be officiated by Mayor R. T. Rybak. In addition, the couples will receive generous gifts from various Twin Ciies groups, businesses, and individuals, including cakes from Betty Crocker, a late night reception from Hotel Minneapolis, and musical entertainment from Jeremy Messersmith and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. 

While the events going on at City Hall will be very exciting, I am more interested in the other ceremonies scheduled around the state–both on August 1st and every day after that. I am very pleased to know several Minnesota clergy slated to officiate ceremonies in the coming days, weeks, and months. The Church, as evidenced in the above blessing from Bishop Chane of Washington, has much to offer to all couples who come seeking ways to solemnize and commit themselves to one another in the bonds of love and service. Further–and more important– those couples have gifts a’plenty to offer the Church. Rather than analyzing the possible changes in family structure or even celebrating with cake and ceremony, the Church ought to rejoice in the door being opened even wider, welcoming in any and all willing to come.

So, in addition to the blessing above, I wish much happiness for those solemnizing their love tonight, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.

In the God whose name is Love,


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