Banana wedding!

18 Sep
Lynn baby, one of my utmost best friends from high school and from all time, was married yesterday.  She was married to another awesome, wonderful friend from high school, Mr. Kyle.  I drove home on Friday to attend rehearsal and dinner [I assisted and preached at the ceremony.] and drove back to MN Saturday night [with arrival at the parsonage a la 1:30am.]  It was so incredibly worth the trip.  I’d do it again anytime.
Lynn looked absolutely stunning.  As her dad walked her down the aisle, I had to fight back tears.  This couple is so wonderfully in love.  *sigh*  I’m so happy for them.
The Bananas, one short of a full bunch.  We missed you, Jenni!

Right before the beginning of the ceremony, Kyle and I waited downstairs to walk to the front of the church.  In effort to calm nerves [both of ours], Kyle made a crack, “At least you know there won’t be any strange dogs who show up at this wedding!”  [In reference to Krissy and Matt’s wedding in August.]  I laughed.  And then said I could make no promises.  He gave me a quizzical look, confused.  It was great.
Because the banana dog played a role in the message I gave.  [Remember the banana dog from way back when?  This was the second time he was a part of a sermon I preached.]  The text chosen was John 15:9-17; find my message below if you care to read.
The ceremony was perfect.  Lynn was beautiful and Kyle was giddy.  A few Bananas and parents went out for drinks before heading to the place of reception for dinner.  A buffet, photo book, picture slideshow, and lots of hugs … and then I had to tear myself away.  I had to drive back to MN.  boo.  So many congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Lynn and Kyle – I love you both.

some of my favorite guys trying out the photo booth, complete with props.
Let’s start at the beginning.  Picture Lynn, a young girl with long thick brown hair and eyeglasses with a small butterfly on the frame above one eye.  This is the Lynn I first knew.  Friends for many, many years, we’ve been through everything together.  We dressed up together – I was a giant bunny and you were a penguin and a flamingo.  We rode skateboards down your driveway and camped in your backyard.  In the past years, though we often haven’t even lived in the same state, Lynn is always a friend I know I can call at any time and we’ll find things to talk about for hours.  A friend full of hope and love and genuineness.
I don’t know as much about Kyle from the younger years.  A Yahara kid by location, it wasn’t until high school in Mr.Papendieck’s AP US History class that Kyle and I began to know each other.  Instead of grades, we would compare the smiley faces that Mr.P put on our papers.  I know Kyle to be a person who stands by a friend in good times and bad, willing to help in any way.  As phrased by another one of Kyle’s friends, he’s a people magnet, consistently making new friends and connecting to new people.
We know that you’re awesome friends to those in your life.  I feel lucky to call both of you friends, and friends from so many years ago and still.  You care beyond measure and treasure relationships within your lives.  What’s even more awesome is that’s how you began your journey to this time and place of wedding vows and rings.  You first were friends to one another.  In Edgerton and in Madison, in between classes and football games, you were first friends.  From that strong base of friendship, you built this relationship that we now celebrate.  The relationship that leads you to become husband and wife today. 
The reading that you chose from the gospel of John speaks deeply of friendship.  These words are spoken by Jesus to his disciples; words that will guide them after Christ has been crucified.  Within these words Jesus commands his disciples – his closest friends – to love one another as he has loved them.   He tells them that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.   We’re commanded to love each other with a Christ-like love and to be a friend in all times, through tragedy and happiness.  Christ commands his disciples – and us – to live a life of love.  You, Lynn and Kyle, practice this each day.  You give your time, your love, and yourselves to those in your life. 
At the center of your life together are your friends and families.  This is evident in all of the people who have gathered here to celebrate this day and your relationship with each other.  To find a space large enough to hold all the people you care about and who care for you would be impossible.  I’m pretty sure that’s why Lynn told Kyle that he wasn’t allowed to make any new friends until after the wedding.  Is that right?
As you have chosen each other and make promises to each other today and every day following, you together go into the world to bear fruit.  Jesus chose the disciples to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.  That’s what it says in the gospel ready – to bear fruit.  That sounds a bit weird – not necessarily something that we would say today.  It’s not like Lynn leaves for work in the morning and Kyle says goodbye by saying, “Bear good fruit today, honey.”  What does it mean to bear fruit?
I think we should ask Lynn.  Lynn knows all about fruit.  I don’t think there is any kind of fruit Lynn doesn’t like.  She can peel an apple in one spiral of apple skin.  Lynn is known as an excellent strawberry picker and apple crisp baker and banana dog sender.   I’ll say that again – Lynn is an excellent strawberry picker, apple crisp baker, and banana dog sender.  Lynn sent this to me in the mail once.  It’s a banana dog.  Another example of what a great friend she is – because she mails things like this.  Because why not, right?
This may not be the exact kind of fruit that Jesus meant to bear – it’s likely he was not referring to this banana dog or the matching one that lives with Lynn and Kyle.   To bear fruit is not Biblical code to send animals made of fruit.  But Webster here might help us understand what exactly it does mean.
Webster was chosen for me by Lynn and given as a gift.  As Jesus chose the disciples to go out and bear fruit, you have chosen each other.  That in itself is a gift.  Kyle, you chose Lynn, and Lynn, you chose Kyle to build your life with.  Today you will vow to love each other for your entire lives.  In that life together, go out and bear fruit.  Bear fruit that will last. 
Fruit that will not last are things like selfishness, holding grudges, and envy.  The actions that kill, hurt, and prevent a love from growing. 
Rather to bear fruit that will last is to be a friend to each other.  To bear fruit in your relationship is to do the things that would help a strawberry plant or orange tree grow.  Care for each other.  Love each other with attention and protection.  As weeds creep up or a worm comes along – whatever that may be in our actual lives – be there for the other.  Work together.  Nourish your relationship with the things you need and support each other as you grow.  It may look like listening more than you speak.  Webster is great at listening.  To bear good fruit means compromise.  Apologizing and forgiving.  Ultimately, to bear fruit is to share the love that Christ commands us to share, the love that we’re first given by the God who created us. 
You vow today to put the other before yourself, to care for the other with a love that is patient and kind.   A love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude.  A love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  Be a friend to each other.  Go out together, hand in hand, and bear good fruit to the world. 
Those of us here call you friends, love you deeply, and cannot wait to see the fruit that you bear as you love and life you lead together.  May God bless your relationship and always be a source of love in your lives.  Amen.

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