I'm (finally) applying for the kids' US citizenship and last week headed to the US Embassy to turn in paperwork. The last step was raising my right hand and swearing that the information given was true, to the best of my knowledge. (Trust me, birthdates of your children are hard to get wrong...those are usually also marked on the calendar as Honey, What Have You Done?! and The Day the Pain Never Stopped!!, not generally events one forgets easily.) The kids were amazed by the formal oath and couldn't stop asking questions about it for days. A few days before they had also been witnesses at a wedding of a dear friend of ours, hearing again spoken words of a promise.
One was an oath before a government official, one with authority to grant you citizenship and equal authority to deny or revoke it.
Weighty stuff, that.
The other was before friends, family, and God. The friends and family, by their presence, offered support and accountability to a couple about to embark on a most challenging and delightful journey.
Lovers put ink to paper, signing their lives to each other. Yet the same government authorities who require this have also made provisions for the quitting of such vows. Crazy stuff, that.
But their oath? Their oath was one committed together before God, an authority whose power reaches across country divides and whose justice reigns over His child and enemy alike. Their union invited Him into theirs, committing their lives together for a lifetime, joined for His glory and His directing. A loving authority, One that would prove faithful in His provision and strength, each necessary for the calling laid before them. One whose Word would provide instruction, a manual of how to live and love and respect and serve as one, as citizens of His kingdom.
This wedding reminded me of my own a decade ago. Their words convicting me of the very same I had spoken to a man I loved. Words that are more than poetic rhythms, more than official jargon, those words are a committment. A vow to love and cherish and protect the bond between, lest anything should sever.
One marriage under God, indivisible, together laboring for His purposes in this nation and across the globe...
Weighty stuff, that.
Stuff I'd raise, and give, my right arm to protect.
(Or both, if your presence on the dance floor demands it! :)