A secular wedding

This is fun. Though fewer and fewer people want to get married in a church, plenty are willing to seek a retired judge to oversee the nuptials.

For a long time, people dreaded seeing Justice Alan D. Marrus.

Justice Marrus spent 30 years on the New York State Supreme Court, so meeting him often meant something had gone terribly wrong.

In his retirement, Justice Marrus has become one of five Judges for Love, a group of former New York Supreme Court justices who perform civil marriage ceremonies for couples who want more pomp and circumstance than is provided by a quick trip to City Hall.

Y’all will probably not be surprised to learn that Albert the Pious is displeased by the news.

Is it a commitment to the lifelong covenant of marriage? That’s not really likely because these very judges are part of a judicial system that has made possible what’s called no-fault divorce. No, it’s more likely merely that this is what Peter Berger, the late sociologist called, a rumor of transcendence. In his book The Rumor of Angels, he discussed the fact that even in a secular society wants to continue with the trappings of transcendence and that becomes especially acute at ceremonies such as a wedding. There’s no shortage of irony in this story, but this is where Christians have to understand that we know that people are not just seeking a rumor of transcendence. They are actually, whether they know it or not, seeking the real thing.

The judge lends an air of gravity to the proceedings, which it deserves. And he does that without some nuisance Holy Man reminding everybody that it’s a sin to attach more importance to the wedding vows than his club.

It isn’t the preacher’s say-so that makes it a marriage; it’s the mutual loyalty and shared ambitions, the striving together to build satisfying lives. Christian teachings, when taken seriously, are an obstacle to that. Win-Win, looks like to me.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.