I gave a homily about parachute pants at the wedding I officiated last weekend. Yes, you read that correctly. Parachute pants. At a wedding. In a church. I’m fairly certain that I am the first minister in the history of the world (or at least since the 1980s) to have pulled off such a feat, and for that accomplishment I must admit I’m rather proud of myself. When people ask me to solemnize their weddings, I warn them that I like to inject a little humor into the service in order to settle everyone’s nerves. I’ve found that the bride and groom can get wound up pretty tight when the moment of truth arrives, and if I can get them to relax I know they will enjoy their big day much more than they would have otherwise. The following paragraphs are excerpts taken from the homily I gave at the wedding of my new friends Taylor and Drake, a wonderful young couple who unwittingly asked a screwball like me to help them tie the knot.
“Taylor and Drake, we come together this afternoon, not to mark the start of your relationship, but to recognize the bond that already exists between the two of you. The bond you two share was formed long before we came here today, in the halls of Oakland Junior High School.
“I find it remarkable that at such a tender age you were able to form such a meaningful and lasting bond. The closest I came to having such a relationship when I was in junior high was with my favorite pair of parachute pants. For those of you who might be too young to know what I’m talking about, parachute pants were made of nylon or polyester material, had lots of zippers for no real reason, and they were very, very baggy. They were all the rage during the 1980s. Trust me on this, they really were. My mother bought a pair for me when I was in the seventh grade, and I loved those pants. I loved them so much that I wore them once or twice a week for the next three years of junior high. Of course I grew quite a bit during that time, and by the end of ninth grade, my pants were so tight I could barely get them on and off, much less walk in them. I shudder to think what might have happened had the relationship lasted much longer.
“Taylor and Drake, your relationship has lasted seven years so far. And I’m happy to see no signs of either of you outgrowing the other. A couple must grow together in order to keep a relationship going strong. Both parties must continue to become better human beings, better partners, for the partnership to last. It is one of the most important keys to a lasting marriage. In August, my wife Bethany and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We’ve stayed together because we’ve grown together. Just like you two have over the first seven years of your relationship, and just like you will for the rest of your lives…”
The ceremony also included the customary repeating of vows and exchanging of rings—both rituals were executed well and were quite moving in their own right— but I’m positive that the entire wedding party and the dozens of guests in attendance that day would agree that witnessing me turning a ridiculous story about parachute pants into a meaningful parable about marriage was the highlight of the entire wedding. Some might even say it was…miraculous.
In truth, the smiles on the faces of the happy couple as I pronounced them husband and wife was the real highlight of the day. And the love they obviously have for one another, the true miracle. It was an honor to be of service to them (and to make them chuckle) on their special day.
Congratulations Taylor and Drake.
by Travis Naughton