Monday, May 21, 2012

Today is Hugo and Arcadia's wedding


Arcadia and Hugo

Today is the day of Hugo and Arcadia’s wedding.  I stop by early with keys so that Teddy and Chris can get the vacuum and make sure that eveeything’s clean and ready.
It’s nearing wedding time and I’m waiting to work out the service with my old colleague Regi who was my Associate and Pastor for Multicultural Ministries for five years starting in 2000.  Rachelle, who yesterday had brought a gift fr Danielle’s husband Nate’s graduation, is back. She wants to see the bride. It’s good luck, she says. And a Spanish speaking woman is looking for help finding a place to stay. She gives me the name of a Harlem hotel. I call, but they accept no cards. She’s crying as she leaves, Teddy goes out with her. I’m expecting Anna and Bobby at any minute. 
Teddy has someone new for me to meet. It’s Chris, clean shaven for the occasion. 
The sanctuary is filled with white bows and rows of little candles, lavender and white. Lit and glowing. 
Regi arrives and after making  sure that the computer is ready to project lyrics, we meet to divide the service. It has grown and expanded since Hugo and Arcadia and I met. Now bearing Regi’s unique interpretive liturgical mark. We divide up the service, ready to go. 
The sanctuary fills. Hugo is pacing and ready. Finally Arcadia arrives in a beautiful white gown, her hair done especially for the day. Hugo is resplendent in his tux. As two small signs, I’m wearing a small FSLN Sandinista pin on mu lapel and the purple band bracelet with the name Adham Brenes and Bob Marley’s One Love, One Heart Arcadia had made for the anniversary of Adham’s death. 
Regi and I go to the front. And Hugo and Arcadia come down the aisle together.  I invoke the presence of beloved family who have gone before, ending with, of course Adham. There is Latin music from a band. Prayers. 1 Corinthians 13 in Spanish. Regi’s warmth and down to earth engagement in the moment. Commentary and reflection.And finally the vows. When we get to the lines, With all that I have and all that I am I will honor you, I find myself ready to cry. For a world of reasons. The looks of love on their faces alone would be enough. 
We get the family to agree to bless the marriage. And the whole congregation. 
I bless the rings in Spanish. Regi leads the through a traditional Nicaraguan ceremony involving 13 coins with the coins being the ones his father gave his mother. We do the pronouncement of marriage together, the congregation bursts into applause. The couple kiss. And walk down the aisle again. As the congregation greets then with soap bubbles. (Every detail, lovingly, beautifully planned.)
We have been waiting for this a long time. Their home is one of openness and love. One where there is always food and a place at the table. Where the word familia is open to all who will come. 
Arcadia, Hugo and Bob
We go to my office for a quick champagne toast. The couple has taken off for the reception. Chris will come with me, Teddy to follow. God smiles on days like these. 

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