This is a high-functioning weekend at our church. This morning there will be a memorial service for an old saint. Then tonight a rehearsal for a Saturday wedding and on Saturday a rehearsal for a Sunday wedding. The families are both members and friends with each other. Former members are coming from across the country to celebrate (and it's over Memorial Day weekend!). And I am allowed (invited) to be in the middle of it all as the pastor, the officiant, the friend of the families.
But I had this flash of what's happening during my devotions this morning. After a time of reading I went to prayer and concluded, as I always do, with prayers for my own family, naming my children...as couples: Isaac & Anna, Luke & Kelly, Liz & Jeff. I realized that I don't pray for them as individuals without their spouses. I think of them as couples (couplets?) Certainly they are still individuals in their own identity. But now they are more, they are joined, united, one flesh, even in my language. And, by extension, are so many of the friends I can list off in my mind who are married. They come to mind in two's.
And maybe that's why divorce and death are so tough. Our language changes and harshly adjusts to the new singleness that we formerly knew as couples. It's not that way with my single friends. I think of them in their individual singleness, even those who are dating or engaged. Something happens at the vow-time.
In William Willimon's book Pastor, he stresses how one of our functions is to bring a counter-narrative to the church. A Bible-narrative that names life differently than the narratives of culture, media, the market-place and psychology. So this weekend I am allowed to call to persons one new flesh. How fun is that?