Dear People of Holy Cross,
One of the little-recognized blessings of our faith community is the strength of relationship within our homes and families. How many churches have family members within one church (brothers and sisters, parents and children) who go back not just 10 or 20 but 60-80 years? Furthermore, if the married couples of Holy Cross added up the years of married life, the collective total would exceed 1,000 years, no doubt! Just in recent weeks, members celebrating wedding anniversaries came forward for prayers in celebration of 65 years, 57 years, 51 years, 42 years, 38 years, 18 years of marriage. And that’s just in the last couple of months!
During 2014, I had the opportunity to officiate or co-officiate at two weddings and to witness a third civil ceremony. Each was unique in its own way and all had in common the union of two made one.
As we continue to be the Church and to grow Holy Cross, let us give thanks for the relationships that undergird this faith community. Let us be conscious of those who have lost loved ones and bring them comfort in a sense of belonging. Let us welcome our children into the solid relational context of a holy family. Let us make room for new members in the larger family. And let us pray for one another through the moments and days of our lives. Following are three prayers from Episcopal tradition to carry us through another year together.
O God, you have so bestowed upon _________ and _________ the gift of ___ years of married life. So continue to knit their wills together with your will that they may grow in love and peace with you and with each other. Give them grace when they hurt each other to seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world and grant that they may reach out in love and concern for others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father: We commend to thy continual care the homes of Holy Cross. Put far from us every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill us with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience and godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who have been made one flesh in holy matrimony. Turn the hearts of parents to children, and the hearts of children to parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.