In the Lectionary

July 5, Ordinary Time 14A (Genesis 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67)

Doesn’t God have better things to do than arrange marriages?

Last Christmas I got a card from Carmen and Ryan, a couple whose wedding I officiated over 20 years ago. It was a great surprise. I hadn’t heard from them for many years. They were members of my first parish, or at least she was. It was a rural three-point parish where there were many more funerals than weddings. I think theirs was one of only three weddings I did in those four years. And when I saw their picture on the card, I realized that in my mind they had been frozen in time from the day of their wedding. I couldn’t believe that I was seeing them so many years later, their children all grown up, still married.

I remembered also that for their wedding I preached about Rebekah meeting Eliezer at the well. I tried to make the point that as God was the matchmaker for Isaac and Rebekah, so God was also the matchmaker for Ryan and Carmen. And I had some anecdotal evidence as well: Carmen met Ryan through a mutual friend who lived in another state. They conducted a long-distance romance, and now Carmen—who had spent all of her life in rural South Dakota—was traveling to a state far away that she had only visited once. I thought she was very much like Rebekah.

God was their matchmaker, I said. Perhaps it was a cheeky thing to say. It was sort of risky, since we never know how things are going to turn out. We pledge and we vow and we look for evidence of divine interference, but we never know.