My daughter Jane married Morris Jones on January 15. They are both dedicated amateur astronomers. Several nights every week they are involved in teaching astronomy and helping people learn how to make telescopes. Most of the people attending the wedding were also sky-watchers of one kind or another.
So it seemed appropriate that my message to them at their wedding attempt to connect our human search for love and the questions inevitably posed by the stars and asked by everyone who looks into the evening sky.
Love is a miraculous gift and a wedding is a celebration of that magic. That's why we're gathered today -- to honor Jane and Morris and to celebrate with them the joy they have found in one another.
So -- hooray! -- we're here to rejoice and give thanks, to honor, to be glad both with and for these two special people.
We all live in the hope of loving and being loved and we give thanks that Jane and Morris have so clearly captured and appropriated that simple, basic truth.
Most of us here today are sky-lovers. In searching the sky, we look for answers to our questions about the nature of the universe. These are big questions. How and why was the cosmos formed? Is there life elsewhere else in the universe? Why are we here?
These concerns are very important. But the smaller questions of everyday life are perhaps always the most real.
And it is these little questions that still largely determine the quality of our lives. Who am I? What do I need to survive? What are my responsibilities in the larger community?
Jane's mother and I are novice sidewalk astronomers. But we have learned that when one searches the heavens, one cannot be other than humble and grateful that we are here at all. Star seekers learn many things as they search the evening skies. One of the wise people in the Old Testament notes:
When I look at the heavens, the moon and the stars which Thou hast established.
What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the sons and daughters of men
That thou dost care for them. Yet thou hast made them little lower than the angels,
and dost crown them with honor and glory.
I think that peering into the heavens and looking into the eyes of the one we love are all pretty tightly connected. Big things and little things somehow go together. I think it's neat that Morris and Jane's friendship began as they were doing astronomy together at the Fremont Peak observatory. Astronomers seem to know how to put the big things and the little things together.
In a moment we'll be asking you to bless Jane and Morris as they pass their wedding rings around the circle. Wedding rings are not valuable because they have intrinsic value. They are made precious by our wearing them. They carry the meaning each person gives them. In a sense they become a part of us. Like the circle of the heavens, they symbolize a connecting bond'between two people and between earth and heaven. Wedding rings carry a kind of double message: we are individuals but we are not alone.
So I invite all of you -- astronomers and star-seekers of every kind -- to join with me in blessing Jane and Morris on this their wedding day.
Alan Miller of Marinwood served as a Presbyterian minister for twenty years before joining the faculty in the College of Natural Resources at U.C. Berkeley.