For a few short hours on a recent Saturday the world, or much of it anyway, held its breath while
two people passed from the old life to the new life. They traveled over a threshold as old as life itself
and in doing so proclaimed that a new one was possible. They held hands, they exchanged vows
and officiants proclaimed that what they did was honorable and true. The preacher, for now you know
of whom I write, spoke of the power that brought them together. It has a name, one we repeat often.
It is the only four-letter word worth saying: love. The two then walked together through a huge crowd
of well-wishers who themselves were witnesses not to just two people getting married, but who were
witnesses to a power greater than themselves swirling around, through and within those thousands
in attendance. The term has been studied, vaunted, written about, sung about, told about in stories
which have lasted thousands of years. It is unpredictable, uncontainable, inexhaustible, beautiful
and even sometimes horrifying, but love is what unites us all.
So, in one hand we hold this experience and gift and contemplate its loveliness. But in the other is a
very dark issue. It is one that stays silent for much of the time but without warning can rear up
and almost swallow love as it attempts to make it disappear. This is the violence that lurks in the
human heart and erupts as the destroyer of the beautiful and lovely. It erupted again in another school
shooting, another mass killing that will stain this year like no other, leaving grief and loss in its wake.
Broken hearts and anguish almost extinguish what love has built.
This is cognitive dissonance. Two events, feelings, experiences, that somehow touch the edges of our
lives but cannot merge. We cannot work out a relationship between them, but we know they are there,
always present in the human family. Our spirits disappear in a vacuum when we hear of these
disasters. Helplessness breaks our hearts, as we observe tears staining the cheeks of those who have
lost loved ones, while at a wedding ceremony, there is joy and celebration for a prince and his bride
who love one another without limit.
The preacher, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, made this point at the wedding. Instead of talking
about the agonies of life, he brought witness to the fact that love is greater, that love heals and
forgives and makes whole all our human brokenness. The darkness is replaced and succeeded by
light and will never be destroyed. The community of faith, the world over will put love into
action and the changes will be miraculous. While there still is that cognitive dissonance, the balance
is and will continue to shift towards the good because God wills it to be so.