On October 17 I was honored to officiate at the wedding of Jennifer Helen Pancoe and Chad Ryan Gurney in the Rose Garden at the Disneyland Hotel. The wedding took place two years and two days after they first exchanged their vows at the bedside of Jennifer’s mom, Bette, at Summit Hospital in Oakland. (Bette would pass away less than one day later). Their wedding confirmed the promises they made on that October afternoon in 2013. After one of Jennifer’s friends read I Corinthians 13, I spoke directly to Jennifer and Chad.
Love is good, yet hard, work. It is relentless commitment. It is consistently showing up, it is reliably taking into account the needs, hopes and dreams of the other. It is trusting that as you give of the best of yourself, your beloved is doing the same and that together you are making this world a much better place.
Jennifer, you are a nurse. Chad you are a fireman. Your core identities are wrapped up in caring, serving and protecting. It really is second nature for you give of yourself for the well-being of others. My simple hope, my simple prayer, is that what you do professionally you will do personally. That what you do for strangers you will do for each other. You each are good and gifted people. Share that goodness, share those gifts, with each other.
When asked what his central message was Jesus answered. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is more than a message that can change the world. It is a message that can shape your marriage and begin the process of saving the world one precious family at a time. I know you. I know you want to do this. I know you are already doing this. I know you will keep doing this. It is one of the reasons I am proud to ask you to share your wedding vows.
Oh, one more thing. You are getting married at Disneyland, a reflection of the fact that you value joy and laughter. In your life together nourish and nurture your commitment to laughter. It is part of who you are, after all Jennifer, it is you who have a history of making hams and turkeys show up in your pastor’s office in strange and unforeseen ways. Healthy relationships are marked by laughter, it is a gift you offer each other and a gift that, together, you offer the world. Keep it up. Okay. Now it is time for your vows!