“You remember the TV show Friends?–” I asked my dinner companions, “–the episode where Joey gets ordained through the Internet to be a minister to marry Monica and Chandler?”
“Yeah,” they said in stereo.
Their jaws dropped and heads cocked sideways like dogs looking at their master trying to understand the gibberish coming out of his mouth.
My wife and I had experienced similar reactions as we stared at each other, while a disembodied voice came through our home office speaker phone and popped the question: “Michael, would you officiate at our wedding?”
That’s right, this crazy Californian scandalized his Southern-in-laws last month, losing any chance of being mentioned in their wills, by marrying one of the kin to his Stanford sweetheart in a beautiful hilltop wedding ceremony. I guess my ordination through the Internet doesn’t carry the same weight of a traditional Baptist preacher.
I side-stepped years of seminary school with a click, sign-on, and “You’ve got ministry credentials.” In most states wedding can be performed by "any currently ordained clergyman or religious authority of any religious denomination or society," ergo, it’s legal.
I was flattered to be asked and honored to unite Brian and Tiffany in marriage. To stand before an audience and perform a different kind of service, beyond my normal skills as a magician or public speaker, is high praise and even a higher compliment. Every marriage is special – this one has a little extra magic.
So, Ladies and gentlemen, for my next trick, I’d like to present to you, for the first time via the internet, Mr. and Mrs. Brian and Tiffany Neal.
[Excerpt from the Magical Minister’s ceremony]
Brian and Tiffany, may your marriage bring every excitement a new marriage should bring, and provide opportunities for patience, tolerance, and understanding. Let your strengths and weaknesses complement each other creating a bond as strong as the earth, as brilliant as the heavens. You will confirm love is more than verses on Valentine's Day and romance in the movies. Love is a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish – in even the most unlikely of places, and holds a magical radiance that never fades. Love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love is patient and kind. Love never ends.
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