Words spoken on the occasion of the wedding of Heather Crawford and Kal Kalyanasundaram in Montreal, Quebec on October 22nd, 2011. The afternoon Christian ceremony at which these words were spoken followed a beautiful wedding ceremony from the Hindu tradition held in the morning.
Our faith tradition dates back three thousand years to a couple named Abraham and Sarah who were called by God to leave behind their homeland – leave behind all that was familiar to them, and to go on a great journey. The great holy mystery which gave each of us life – that which we call God – promised to be with them on their journey, and told them that their descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. They were told they would be “blessed to be a blessing” – to the whole world.
How absurd it must have seemed at times to the couple – how frightened they must have been. But nonetheless they embraced the great adventure that lay before them, and set out on a journey into the unknown, trusting the great promise, and because they did, we have all been blessed. We are all the daughters and sons of Abraham and Sarah.
Over thirty years ago, in the same spirit as Abraham and Sarah, two couples left behind their native lands and all that was familiar to them, stepping way outside their comfort zones. These two couples travelled thousands of miles, crossing a great ocean to come to a new continent. One couple left behind Scotland to come to the United Sates, while the other left behind India to come and live in Canada.
Had they met each other at the time, they might have assumed they had little in common, coming as they did from different races, nations, cultures and religious traditions. But in fact they had a great deal in common: a brave immigrant spirit that arrived on this continent with little more than the clothes on their backs and a willingness to work hard to build a life here, and a strong desire to raise a family and devote themselves body and soul to their children.
In short order, with great joy these two couples welcomed their first born child into this world, and Heather and Kal began the journey of their lives.
Two thousand years ago as some magi studied the stars they sensed a similar calling to leave behind the familiar to go on a great journey. They discerned that a divinity was about to be born in far away land. The baby they went in search of was the Jewish messiah, but they had no intention of abandoning their spiritual traditions to become Jewish themselves. They recognized that true holiness transcends every culture, and that before such holiness everyone is called to bow down and worship.
And the child that the magi came from afar to adore grew up to cast a vision to all who would receive it. Jesus spoke of a mystery he called the kingdom of God, a reality of blessed inclusion where love prevails – a reality that is already fully actualized in the spiritual realm, and which, even now, he said, was breaking into this world as well. He used parables to speak of this mystery. He said, “It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”(Mark 4:31-32)
The kingdom, he said, is there to be seen for all who have eyes to see it.
And it came to past that the Scottish-American couple sent their adventurous daughter Heather to Montreal to study at a fine university, and here she met Kal. Before long the two were aware of a powerful attraction to one another, as well as a deep intuitive understanding. They had been given the great blessing of having found their soul mates.
But how could this be? Coming from such strikingly different cultural and religious backgrounds, there were seemingly mountainous obstacles to overcome before they could give themselves over to a vision of lifetime lived together as husband and wife. Nonetheless, they were destined by God to be together. A divine mustard seed had been planted in their hearts, and as the years passed the faith that arose from this seed removed the mountain that stood in their way. The large branches of their love sprung forth, and we are here today as just some of the birds who will find shade beneath the exquisite branches of their love.
Let everyone who has eyes marvel at what God has done.
Kal and Heather, you are a parable of the kingdom of God. You have been wondrously blessed; go forth now to be a mighty blessing to everyone your lives will touch.