As I mentioned in the bridal shower post earlier today, I wrote a poem for my daughter Mary and her beloved fiance Ryan called "Seven Blessings for One Marriage." This may sound like an odd title, but my dear future son-in-law loves messianic (Christian) Judaism, and the number seven holds great Biblical symbolism for him.
This is the scanned version of the poem before we framed it. Joanna added the embellishments along the sides using strips of scrapbooking paper, which go nicely with the silver-grey frame. I am also including a full size copy of the words, since these are hard to read. However, if you double click on the picture it will be enlarged!
Seven Blessings for One Marriage
by Virginia Knowles
As you stand side by side in humble awe of Him,
Devote and purify your hearts to please the Holy One in whom
Justice and mercy met on the cross.
As you ponder the mysteries and epiphanies of life,
Think, imagine, listen, linger, and reflect with one another.
Learn from the LORD and His Word: Know and then do.
As you reflect the larger luminescence,
Seek to mirror the marriage of Messiah and his beloved Bride,
A radiant, translucent testimony of grace and glory.
As you embark on a journey of excellence together,
Move forward faithfully and fruitfully as partners
On your mission: a grand adventure of faith and destiny.
As you drink of the abundant sparkling fountain,
Make a merry melody and holy harmony to celebrate our Creator,
Who beautifully fashioned each of you for each other.
As you confess, forgive, reconcile, respect, and embrace,
Let shalom, wholeness, blossom as an olive branch,
And you shall be united in the One who makes all things new.
As you commit to cherish and nurture one another,
Surrender, serve, and sacrifice with loyalty and affection
In the sacred marriage which our God has entrusted to you.
May these blessings be yours in the LORD!
I presented the framed poem to Mary at her bridal shower. Later that day I gave Ryan his own copy, and he mentioned that during the wedding, the rabbi will actually pronounce seven blessings (Sheva Brachot) in Hebrew and in English. They are having a mostly Jewish wedding with at least the key elements like the chuppah (wedding canopy), the bride circling the groom, the ketubah (marriage contract), crushing the glass and more. There will even be Hebrew dancing at the reception, led by members of Gesher Shalom's dance worship team. It's going to be a cultural experience for all of us since none of us (including the groom's family) grew up Jewish. You can find out more at "How To Celebrate a Traditional Jewish Wedding" Mary received a little box in the mail that day from Tel Aviv, Israel. It was Ryan's wedding ring -- and not an ordinary one! It has the Hebrew words for "I am my beloved's and he is mine" pierced all the way through it. Way cool! It reminds me that Thad bought my engagement ring in Israel when he was on a trip with his dad. I went to Israel in 1980 on a mission trip and still have a lot of my own interesting souvenirs. Ryan and Mary hope to go there in a couple of years.
It also dawned on me that day that Ryan reminds me of my father-in-law, Ted Knowles, who passed away in 1997. Ted loved to travel (he visited over 100 foreign countries and worked in many of them for months at a time), he had an insatiable appetite for learning, he enjoyed meeting new people, he loved to laugh and have fun, he worked hard, and he lived as simply and unpretentiously as he could, but was so generous with others (including our family). He used to take our girls to concerts and plays, bring them little treats, read story books to them, and sing silly songs. He would have loved to meet Ryan, but now at least I'm happy to see Ryan picking up where Ted left off. We are blessed.
Oh, and as a side note, does anyone have a chuppah that we can borrow?