for thousands of years

A wedding call to worship

by Abigail Hastings
“Call to worship” for the wedding of
Jessica Sehested and Richard Mark, Saturday 6 May 2006

for thousands of years
people have gathered
under a grove of trees
or an expanse of sky
beside an altar of marble
or beneath a cloth of blessing
to bear witness to such
a beautifully simple act
   of intention and promise

for thousands of years
people have looked on
as those they love
make known their choice,
this choosing of love
   and life and future

for thousands of years
people have risked
the catch in their throats
the quickening heart
the dampening eyes
to sense the pivot of a moment

where all that has come before
yields to the possibilities ahead:
the deeper trails yet to hike;
moist dark earth turning
for new vegetable seeds;
the pleasure of tossing the dinner salad
greens; or teaching new tricks
to an eager-to-learn and
uncommonly happy dog

possibilities too measured in
shared confidences before a fire,
or unspoken ones beneath the
        canopy of a North Carolina
star-filled sky

and for us, for those of us gathered
here, as vivid to us now as this
time is, when the fullness
         of each
becomes the splendor of
         the together,
the lives we here witness and
are most piercingly imprinted
         in the record of our joys
by the way he looks at her,
by the way she looks at him,
by the light that fills that fleeting
         but luxurious exchange
from the depths of one’s being

it is that look, and that compass
of knowing and being
known, of loving and being loved,
that illumines all that we hope for
in this day and in the days to come.

welcome to this celebration
of two people
of two people finding
and of us, lucky us, finding ourselves
here in the privilege
of partying on in the midst of
the very best of what life
has to offer.

welcome, one and all,
         to the celebration.

©Abigail Hastings @