Til Kingdom Come

Song: Till Kingdom Com

Waiting.  Its one of the hardest things we humans do.  We wait all the time.  We wait in ticket lines, in doctor's offices, for the workday to be over, for the arrival - or departure time at the airport.  As hard as waiting is, most of us learn that we usually have to wait for important things.  We wait to buy a car, to buy a house, take our dream vacation.    But our most precious stories are usually about waiting for those things we hope for, like a baby to be born, or a loved one coming home. And, some things are so important, like finding the love of your life, that we’re willing to wait for years, Till Kingdom Come

Those are familiar words.  Ancient words, actually, from the book of Matthew. They're an abbreviation of, “Until Thy Kingdom Comes”, the Kingdom being Heaven.  So, when we say we'll wait “Til Kingdom Come” for something, we're saying we're waiting for Heaven.  Those examples I just used were not random.  Ben was a surprise baby for us, and Chris had a difficult pregnancy, almost losing him while camping at Assateague where we all recently were reunited.  We had anxious months to wait for him, and when he was finally born healthy, 10 fingers and toes, handsome, and cheerful – that day will always be part of my Heaven.  

Julie's mom Gwen remembers well living through 9/11, 3 weeks after Julie had moved to New York.  The aftermath of those days was scary for all of us, but especially for those of us with loved ones in the city.  "Come Home", she told Julie, and when Julie was back home safe, Gwen was able to say, from her mother's heart, Thank Heaven!  

Today we are all here because Julie and Ben have asked us to celebrate the occasion they waited for, the day when they are saying to us, and to each other, I have found the one I love.  In a very real way, Ben and Julie, today you, together, are opening a door to Heaven.  

Of all the experiences we have in this life, the closest we get to Heaven is loving and being loved.  Waiting for love is like waiting for Heaven, and we all have a special fondness for these stories.  Cinderella, Snow White, Sense and Sensibility, Lord of the Rings, and almost every movie on the Hallmark channel.  My favorite stories are right here, and now we have a new one: Our Bride and Groom.  Ben and Julie are no strangers to waiting.

Waiting is hard because it takes faith, particularly when you are as determined and talented as these two.  Julie's Mom has told me of Julie's lifelong determination, for dance, or academic excellence, or career success - not just anyplace, but in New York where, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!  Nor is Ben easily diverted from his agenda - I know firsthand, having spent some hard days on the AT with him.  But they waited for each other. So often, as we are waiting, or enduring, we are advised, "Have faith", as a synonym for "be patient".  But faith is a noun: its something we have, not something we do, and in our world it is in short supply.  The book of Hebrews  says,  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen."   Think about that:  For Ben, for Julie, hopes had substance.  Their hopes were not romantic daydreams.   Ben has been there all along, unseen and unknown to Julie, waiting for her and her alone.  And today here he is, the evidence of all her faith.  And for Ben, although I know he had months and perhaps even years when hope was dim, he has known all his life that somewhere, some-when, Julie was waiting for him, the treasure he hoped for, the reality inside his faith, the woman he can adore.  Today, at last, here she is before him, holding his hand, loving him.  And we, dear family and friends, we are seeing the miracle of their faith in action.  Standing before us is the evidence of their faith, their hope, and greatest of all, their love.  I can only pray that everyone here is aware of the great gift and the great example they are giving us.  I believe it can change our lives as it has changed theirs.