Tuesday, December 20, 2005

In Jewish tradition the wedding procession has a deep and beautiful symbolism. In the old days, the village days, in Europe the bride’s and groom’s families walked with them from their houses to the synagogue – accompanying, blessing, and supporting the new couple as they move from their past histories into a shared future. It’s a symbolism I love, and one that was moved me deeply at Ruth’s wedding when Bob and I walked with her through a meadow of flowers to meet Chris and walk on toward the Chuppa with him. A similar meaning was expressed in a completely different way today as Sarah and Peter were helped by friends and family to transform the chapel and community hall of Sarah”s childhood church into a winter wonderland sprigged with snowflakes and reflecting Peruvian culture in rich colors and weaving.

When Ruth and I arrived in the morning the church basement was just a church basement – mix-matched chairs in the hall, high chairs from Head Start stored on the stage, table cloths and napkins still in their plastic, the giant banner meant to hang over the alter still unhung. Friends and family worked all day – changing out old chairs with the new chairs delivered to the church, arranging tables and flowers, and setting tables with brightly woven Peruvian cloths, holly and and cedar from Sarah’s childhood yard, and pottery candle holders Sarah had lovingly made as favors for her guests. Parents, friends, grandparents, Sarah.s sisters and Peter’s brother, aunts uncles and cousins all ironed, hauled, draped tulle, folded napkins, played music, and took video. In the end the chuch hall was transformed. More importantly Sarah and Peter were supported by their community as they prepared for the important transition of marriage.

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