MICHAEL & NATALIA were married today in the presence of family members and friends both Russian and English. It was a joy to behold and to celebrate. Great love overcoming distance and difference. Evidence again of deeper language, in this world and beyond it, than mere speech, Russian, English or any other.
There’s an iconic language when it comes to the presence and the presents of love. A language that is seen and touched and kissed and felt and joyful and tearful and light and dark and imminent and transcendent and whole and holy. A language in which a kiss – like the kiss of the Christ that caught up lepers into the stunning and silent music of surprise and delight, healing and wholeness – a kiss – speaks chapter upon chapter, volume upon volume, and lays score upon score for the angels to sing.
English and Russian traditions were brought together. Surely our Patron, Archangel Michael, watched over the proceedings as Michael & Natalia, according to Russian tradition, newly married and blessed, kissed our parish church’s Icon of that same Lord Jesus Christ. The bride’s mother, furthering the tradition, then stepped forward to add her own words of blessing for her daughter and her husband – presenting them with one of the most beautiful Russian icons I have ever set eyes upon.
There’s an iconic language when it comes to the presence and the presents of love. And I believe that it’s one of the Church’s chief tasks to bless humankind with the daily use of that language. The language of the kiss, the embrace, the language of healing and wholeness, the language of the icon – of Christ, of his holy angels, apostles, saints and martyrs, the language of persons celebrating God’s love in heart and soul and mind and body – this language is iconic language. This language is beyond speech. This is the language of the Holy Spirit of God at work in Creation. This language, this whisper, this binding, this laughter, this deep, deep (and sometimes silent) song, this faithing, this hoping and loving, is prayer.
Michael & Natalia have begun their married life well. They kissed the Icon. And the Icon kissed them.