The Wedding Feast by Rev. Susan Querry Graceson

Rev. Susan Graceson, Associate Pastor, shared her story of faith and belonging last week during
Immanuel’s Real World, Real Faith series. As part of her presentation, she shared a poem she wrote shortly after her wedding in August of 1996. Susan and her husband, David, married in her parents’ backyard in Kentucky; her father had recently been diagnosed with cancer. A few weeks after their wedding, Susan’s father died.

After her Real World, Real Faith presentation, several people commented on the power of Pastor Susan’s poetry. Throughout the Bible, wedding feasts are a popular image of God’s joy, generosity, and radical welcome, such as in John 2, Luke 14, and Revelation 19. Here, Pastor Susan considers the breadth of emotions at her own wedding: celebrating her marriage, mournful of her father’s illness, and resting in the knowledge that God’s heapin’ helpin’ of love will have the final say.



The Wedding Feast, by Rev. Susan Querry Graceson

So they served it up right — a slice of life,

a scoop of joy, a heapin’ helpin’ o’ beauty and union.

The bride and the groom presented the feast.

It was a mighty and filling feast.

It filled every belly at the wedding.

No guest went away wanting.

It was a generous portion.

And it filled up her Daddy and it reached deep into his belly.  Deep… deep… deep, to where that lethal ball o’ poison was anchored, secure in its new dark battle — bound and determined to conquer.

And the feast surrounded the ball and covered it in the bouquets and punch bowls and Bible verses of the day.

And the ball eased up on it’s fight and was warmed and cockled for just a little while, for just long enough to have a backyard wedding.

But her Daddy never forgot it was there.

He walked her down the aisle and he felt it.

He smiled at his granddaughter flower girl and he felt it.

He mused with his new son-in-law and he felt it.

The cancer would win in the end, but it would not have this day.

This day was for a bride and a groom who had been for too long, much too long, since birth even, surrounded by blackness and smallness and dark death.

This bride and this groom had clawed their way toward a small single shaft of light at the end of deep, deep tunnel.

And in one another, they had found oceans of that light, canyons and skies of it.

And so, on the day when they came together, it was good and right, that death should be there, too.

Death always is.

But on this day, in a backyard in Eastern Kentucky, death gets put off a little longer.

Cancer has to wait its turn, get in line, and have a heapin’ helpin’ of love.




Featured image by Dave Gunn. Photo license available here.