Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Reverend Moksha Gren

I couldn’t help giggling internally just a bit when I said, “by the power vested in me by the State of Iowa…” Such a lofty phrase…such an implication of authority. Somehow, I think the blurry jpeg print-out of an ordination certificate that rested in the back of my three-ring binder was slightly less awe-inspiring than the State of Iowa had in mind when they contemplated vesting power in the hands of ministers. They most likely would have been even less impressed had they known that I was outrageously tired due to a late night/early morning bachelor party that a “minister” had no business attending. And they may well have done their best to revoked this mysterious “power” had they known how badly I wanted to read the line as “And so…by the power of Greyskull…”

And when, exactly was this power vested to me? After I clicked “submit,” entering my name into the database at the Universal Life Church? Or was it transferred unto me only once my printer had finished producing my certificate? Whichever it was, the end result was the same, apparently. Power had been vested in me and I was wielding it with impunity over the weekend.

Now, don’t get me wrong…the powered I wielded was put to an absolutely beautiful purpose. But I still felt odd referencing this power as if the piece of paper really made me special in any way. To me…the real authority granted in this instance came when Taltap and Elsa asked me to officiate their wedding. It was their day and they invited me into it. That was the special moment. That was when I became empowered to perform wondrous magic.

Leave it to a bureaucracy to miss the fragile beauty of the scene while it focuses on the paperwork.

Not entirely coincidently, this concept of subtle moments was the theme of my sermon. And make no mistake…it was a sermon. When my college roommate/ Moonshot’s brother-in-law performed our wedding, he approached the speech with casual grace. He told the story of how we lovebirds had met and what role he had in the events. It was funny and personal and all around perfect for our day. I, on the other hand, found that I have some deep and poorly understood desire to stand before a crowd and wax philosophically about the deep truths of life. I suppose this should shock no one who knows me or who has ever seen me turn a simple question like “which remote do I use to turn on your tv?” into a 20 minute lecture on signal amplification and hub-based audio networking.

Anyway…I sermonized. A transcript of the speech can be found here, if you are so inclined. But the real wonder of the day was that when it was all over…Taltap and Elsa were husband and wife.

It was a very small ceremony…twenty people or so. And six of those people were under the arbor as part of the wedding. The day was hot enough to joke about and wish for lighter clothes than tuxedos, but not unbearable. The kind of hot that makes for good stories in later years. The ceremony itself was strategically short, designed to get folks back into the AC as quickly as possible. But, it was worth being outside...for the setting was astounding. Taltap’s parents hosted the event in their backyard, and "elaborately designed" does not even begin to describe this yard. And mind you, this is not some normal yard all dolled up just for the wedding. This yard is their hobby. Rivers and bridges and waterfalls in every direction. A little house rested in the back corner for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and a manufactured cave sat beside it for the dwarves to mine. I jokingly told Taltap’s dad all that was missing from the yard was a garden train. At which point he showed me where the train was going to be installed next year. Later that evening, during the reception, children ran joyously over the bridge to reach Snow White’s house. They delighted in turning the faux fireplace on and off and sitting at the miniature table. It was a truly stunning locale.

In the end, everything went smoothly on this, my first public appearance as the Reverend Moksha Gren. People kept telling me how wonderful it all was, as if I had really done much in the scheme of things. There was love before, there was love after...I just got up there and gabbed about it. But, the only two people whose opinion on my performance really matter seemed quite pleased with how it went down. And though I’ll still shake my head every time I think about the baffling “power” that was vested in me through the Internet, I continue to be honored to have played a role in the marriage of two of my closest friends.

UPDATE: For those of you "in the know" about the "The Gren Was Here" prank as discussed on both Simon and Amy's site. The letter-posting culprit is the wonderful lady on the far right in the second picture. I owe her a big thanks.


Simon said...

A wonderful post, and a wonderful sermon as well, Rev. Gren. I imagine you used different names in the actual sermonising, but it was wonderfully expressed. I giggled a bit when I read "labradoodle", because I cannot take that word seriously under any circumstance, but I like the implications and the sentiment.

I also think those are the first pictures of a non-pregnant Moonshot I've seen. Though I have to admit I don't keep up to speed on Norah's updated pic page...

We did the same sort of thing for our wedding and had a good friend briefly deputised to wed me and Amy. The rules have changed now and it's no longer allowed, but I'm glad we got that in under the wire since it made the day that much more special.

Mark said...

Just great, MG. Makes me want to get ordainified just so I can marry the next couple needs hitchin'.

Great sermon, too. It's never wrong to go on and on if you keep the crowd in it. I suspect you did.

You know, we had two ministers preside over our wedding, and combined they had fewer earrings than you do in one ear. Cool.

I also must say that Taltap looks big and strong and Elsa's a lovely bride. Your bride's a sight, too, if I may. Her countenance is not represented enough out here (I, like Simon, do not stay updated on the photo site).

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just knew that was the magic garden again when I saw the tulle that runs through the treillis as a wedding arch. Thanks for telling the tale of the day. Very nice sermon, too, and very smoothly steered throughout.

Gotta go... some ultrasound scans to post.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a privledge! And it looks like you did good Moksha. Just don't let it go to your head :)

Even the sermon was great, and now I know where this beautiful yard came from on your Wordless Wednesday post. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together.

Take care.

Simon said...

OK, I used 'wonderful' way too many times in my first comment. It was all true, don't get me wrong, but I should be able to come up with greater variety than that, you'd think!

Of course I had to compare current wedding pics to the 'cast' photos of Taltap and Elsa, and you guys still all look great together. If validation from a near-complete stranger is what you've always been looking for, then look no further!

Anna said...

Pastor Gren...nice! What a great story and I liked the sermon. Great pics too! How great it was that you could be a part of the special day for your friends.

Have a good weekend coming up!

Josh & Emily said...

I thought the sermon was very well written! If Run DMC can be a reverend, I see no reason you can't be!
Congrats to Taltap and Elsa! You know, only reading their internet names, sooner or later I am going to forgot their real names are Jamel and Bobby Sue.

Moksha Gren said...

Si - Thank you much. I really enjoyed the whole experience even though I had to refrain from using their webby nicknames during the service. We were already on shaky legal ground in some folks' minds...better not to add another layer.

You don't follow along on Norah's grownig pictures? I had been refraining from posting many of her pictures out here on the main site since I assumed anyone who cared would be cheking on her page. But maybe that's not true. Maybe I need to be bringing the wife and child to the forefront more often.

Mark - I thank you , and my wife thanks you to. She's been working out hardcore for a few months now and loosing lots of weight. Plus....I'm pretty sure she could bench press me right now. How cool is that?

I'm still a bit mystified at the whole "two ministers" thing...but glad I could whoop them both at something so meaningful as earring count.

Emilie - I had planned on getting this post up only shortly after the WW so folks could read the story at the same time...but I got behind. But yeah...same place, two styles of exploring it.

Congrats on the ultrasound magic.

Mike - No worries on the ego. While I like public speaking and think I do a fair job at it, I'm certainly nothing outrageously special...and my newly aquired certificate doesn't change that one bit.

Si (again) - It was surprising to see a vocabulary such as yours stuck on only one adjective...but I certainly got your point and appriaciated each "wonderful."

Anna - I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'd recommend it to anyone who isn't a member of a church. It's one thing if you have a pastor, but for those of us who don't, its always struck me as odd that you'd have to invite a total stranger into your wedding party. This, in my opinion is so much more meaningful.

Jet - It still cracks me up that the ordination website requests that you do not ordain people without their permission nor ordain fictional characters. You have no idea how tempted I was to re-ordain myself as "Moksha Gren."

So now your outing my cast members's real names. Keep it up and I'll have to let everyone know that your real name is Orville.

Simon said...

The harshness with which I was struck by the phrase, "...I assumed anyone who cared would be cheking on her page," left me nearly physically reeling. And then sat me down on my bum to re-evaluate my priorities and the efforts I put in to keep informed on the goings-on of those I care about. How easy for me to restrict myself to the veneer of the front page provided by Moksha Gren, and not bother to delve beneath the layers provided. I feel shame.

Well, truthfully, I check up on Norah's page maybe once every other month or so, when it occurs to me to think, "I bet there would be more pictures up there now." But I haven't scoured them all, which is what prompted that particular reply of mine.

(I wasn't really serious about that 'reeling' bit. I like to be melodramatic in how I comment sometimes. Some people don't know that about me, can you believe that?!)

Moksha Gren said...

Si - hmmm, maybe that did come out as more harsh than I meant it. Although physically knocking you back with my cruelty was kinda fun in its own way ;) What I relaly meant was just that I had been refraining based on the assumption that I would be be posting content everyone had already seen...thus boring the snot out of my readership. However, if only the over-zealous direct blood relatives are checking...then I shoudl go foreward with no such fear of double posting.

But then...if you choose to feel guilty...don't let me stop you.

Also, whenever I put new pictures of Norah on her page, I update the "Norah's Page Last Updated On" feature in the upper right menu bar. Might save you some checking since I'm sorta sparatic about posting there.