Nature Celebrates Wedding of Rebekah and Michael

Nature Celebrates Wedding of Rebekah and Michael


They didn’t need a fancy wedding. Our daughter, Rebekah, and Michael Holcomb, were married on March 10.

Their cathedral was among monumental Live Oak trees with Spanish moss hanging in abundance–a sacred space where Michael proposed to Rebekah–what romantics they are! And when Jeremy,  the Episcopal priest, asked if there were any who knew reason this marriage should not happen, an impressive Red-Shouldered Hawk flew by and cried out.

Rebekah, Jeremy the priest, and Michael rehearse for the wedding. Photo by John

Of course, we all knew it was not to signal an objection. This hawk was simply and plainly taking up its position in the closest tree to make heaven’s declaration of  the absence of any impediment and the grand cause of celebration. The wedding bulletin even included drawings by Rebekah, of the Red-Shouldered Hawk and several other species, including my mother’s favorite, the chickadee, which Rebekah also has tatooed on her arm. What a nature lover she is!

Connie and I were joined by my brother Jim, his sister, Carol, my sister Joan and her daughter, Kelly and Kelly’s son, Tab—all from Kentucky.  Kelly shares a birthday (August 24) with Rebekah, and Rebekah was the flower girl at Kelly’s wedding.

Besides bursting with joy and pride over the lovely and loving couple, we were proud as well about our son, Jeremiah, who is forever protective of his younger sister, and who put together a slide show of the couple for the reception and provided lots of additional logistical support there.

Due to a mid-term change in the nursing school’s schedule, Rebekah had to go right back to classes and tests to finish her work for her Registered Nurse program the Monday following the wedding.

So, it’s now Rebekah and Michael Holcomb, and we are thrilled that they are planning to soon move to the Chicago area where Rebekah hopes to move forward with an advanced nursing degree. Congratulations to them both on their marriage. May it blosom and grow magnificently!!

It is, of course, a great joy and honor to “give the bride away,” and I enjoyed it. But I felt a strong urge to do something more and express the deep wishes that I had, and I knew others shared for Rebekah and Michael. So here is the blessing that Connie and I shared at the reception:



Blessed are you, Michael,

for the playful way you take life seriously and the serious way you play.

Blessed are you, for you live more fully by giving yourself away;

you treasure people above all things

and you work hard, not at a mere job, but at bringing more excitement and beauty to life.

Blessed are you, for your strength of manhood that doesn’t fear Rebekah’s strength.

Blessed are you,

for you have dared plan your life with Rebekah in your heart—

to step boldly into the adventure of commitment with all its pain and surprise.


Blessed are you, Rebekah,

for you did not settle, but found a true man and partner for life in Michael.

Blessed are you, for you have answered the call to live a life of caring.

Blessed are you as you dare to listen to the cries and joys of others

and as you give your heart away to your many friends.

Blessed are you because the most potent medicine you will ever give as a nurse will be your self.


Blessed are you, Michael and Rebekah,

for you love more by entering into what each other loves.

Blessed are you in your life together,

blessed by loud music, quiet walks, and long cuddles with Turbo and now Dudley.

Blessed are you by your thirst for knowing and experiencing more,

for your world is a well of wonders that will never run dry.

Blessed are you by hard work and study,

and by tending one another’s wounds at the end of the day.


Blessed are you by goodbyes and good journeys, by lonely longing and warm-welcome-homes.

Blessed are the both of you,

for you have often been slapped down for caring, but you have risen up again and offered up your arms and your hearts.

Blessed are you both,

for you do not avert your eyes from what is nasty and brutish in this world,

but allow your heartbreak to stir you to strive for what is noble and holy.



Blessed are you, Michael and Rebekah,

for you know of the sour speculation that life may have no meaning or purpose,

but you live for the higher hope that it does.




Blessed are you, for you have understood you are never alone,

and this special day is but one celebration of the many hearts that forever beat for you, the many eyes that watch over you,

and the many hands that reach out to lift you when you fall.


Blessed are you when you strain to see beyond the horizon,

for you will catch glimpses of that Greater Truth that beckons you on.

Blessed are you when you recklessly give love away,

for the reckless and relentlessly Loving One will faithfully give you ever more.

Blessed are you when you welcome the wanderer and give shelter to the lost;

your home will be all the more warm and beautiful for it.


Blessed are you when you refuse to let your yearnings be quenched or your voices silenced.

The shadows will never overwhelm you.

Blessed are you if you remember you will never be more than human

and never outgrow your need for forgiveness.

And blessed will you be as you give forgiveness freely to each other and the world.


Blessed are you when you defy the bullies of this world

—the petty ones but especially the great ones

—you will learn how powerless they really are.

Blessed are you when you believe in the Light, even in the darkest night,

for it will always be shining within you.


About John

John is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who has served congregations for over 40 years, including in rural, suburban, campus ministry and urban settings. His love of Border Collie sheepdogs has been fortified by his many friendships with shepherds all around the world. Nothing he has ever or will ever accomplish is as significant as the patience God, his wife and his friends have shown in putting up with his deficiencies.
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