I know there are quibbles with the heavy emphasis right now on the UUA's "Standing on the Side of Love" campaign, but I like it. I would be hard-pressed to uncover anything more theologically apt for UUs than to focus our attention on Love and its power and meaning in the world. I don't want us to argue about this in the comments, though, okay?
Because this post is not about that campaign. Instead, it is about this past Sunday afternoon when I got to stand alongside two lovers and proclaim their love to the gathering of friends and family members, sanctify it with my love and that of the community, and promise to stand by it and by them.
The love that was present on Sunday afternoon was so visible, so joyous, so full of life and energy that it eclipsed the fear and hesitance that is often present when two women decide to make their love public.
As the two brides came down the aisle together, their faces outshone the light slanting in through the sanctuary windows. Their bridal garb----a white dress here, a resplendent rainbow tunic there---quietly represented the meaning of the moment: this love is pure, this love is beautiful and everlasting---and legitimate. This love can speak its name.
In their words to each other, they acknowledged the 15 years they have been partners and spoke those ancient words of commitment to each other: to love, honor and cherish, for always. In those 15 years, they have already loved and honored and cherished a thousand ways, just as lovers have always tried to do.
In their words to their community, they thanked friends and family for their love and asked these dear ones to stand by them, to defend their love if necessary, and to support their marriage as they grow together in this new way.
"Standing on the Side of Love" isn't just the title of a hymn or a campaign or a new curriculum. It is active, giving, steadying, speaking truth, looking at life through this lens of Love, that human attribute that gave us life, that gives us reason for living, that gives us strength and hope.
When we ask ourselves "what does love mean to me?", we have an opportunity to go beyond the political issues of love, beyond the romantic notions of love, beyond the materialistic trappings of love, to find where love crosses paths with our own lives, where we do not love enough, where we unexpectedly find love, where we are afraid to love.
To quote from the wedding ceremony: "Love is not a mere feeling. It is active, nurturing, giving". Where else might we employ love? in cultural issues? in political arenas? is it to be reserved for certain family and community use alone?
Love is larger than any other force I can think of. I hope, I intend to stand alongside it.