(Written by Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann and assisted by my guardian angel, Nabi Issa, Maulana Rumi and Archangel Jibril.)
We became a trickle that grew into a river.
We took flight and dove into the sea, and then we overflowed,
Glory be to God.
We were dry, but we moistened.
We grew wings and became birds,
we married one another and flew,
Glory be to God.
Gathered together, some from near and some from far, we are here to honour the union of Laura and Espen.
Married last year in Bergen, Norway, we come together today to give them our love and blessings. I would like to invite you to be present me with me for this endeavor.
Feel free to put your phone on silent, leave your caution to the wind
and let your heart be full and open.
Good afternoon Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
asalaam alaikum, peace be upon you.
My names are Philippa Wacera Rabia.
Laura I have known each since childhood, she is my sister, I spent many afternoons enviously combing her hair with Pink Lotion. The trees of this garden know our story.
Espen, I met some years ago when, I had the worst tooth infection of my life and under Laura’s instruction, he so generously drove all the way to Sheffield to pick me up
so that she could nurse me back to health
with her unconditional love.
Here on this soil, we are documenting a new chapter, beneath these same trees, beside these sweet dogs and wondrous tortoises,
with our eyes, do we look upon Laura and Espen and say,
Oh dear ones,
we see you,
we thank you for your union
and we pray that
each breath you take together and apart
brings you closer to yourself,
to each other
and to fulfilling your life’s purpose.
To begin, I would like us to stand
and close our eyes for some moments.
Let us breathe deeply and be alive in our breath!
Imagine time has stood still, Leaves do not shake, Trees do not sway, Birds have stopped flight, Ants stand still in their tracks, we all watch with our inner eyes, mesmerized by the embrace of these two love birds, Laura and Espen.
In our silence, I would like us to acknowledge those that have come before us
and those that will come after.
Here we call the blessings of the lineage of Laura’s family and here we call the blessings of the lineage of Espen’s family.
In addition, We call the blessings of our own family and spiritual lineage.
We are time travelling now,
into the past and out to the future,
we see prayers of countless generations.
We summon the unconditional love of our ancestors.
We call the saints and the angels that have stood beside, protected and communicated with our families.
We acknowledge that we are the manifestation of their prayers.
We honour this and connect to this energy,
I would like to also call Archangel Michael,
And Archangel Chamuel.
And here we say,
We open our eyes,
and look at our neighbors,
first to our right and then to our left.
We see the divine in them
You can be seated.
I would like to invite my friend Ariam to read a prayer by a Saint and patron of Animals and nature, Mr. Francis of Asissi.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
I feel there is a lot to learn about life through nature.
The tree behind me is a type of euphorbia. It is a succulent. I am fascinated by succulents. It’s known as one because its body retains water. A tall tree like this can grew from a very, very small cutting. The cutting does not need roots to grow. But the soil must be fertile, the climate optimum, the light just so right to root
Succulents can surprise you sometimes, some appear dormant for months; they don’t seem to grow.
Some time back, I had been growing one and it seemed indifferent to my love. I tried to pull it out of the ground, and low and behold, did I get a surprise. Its roots were much longer than I thought, much longer than its trunk.
Enormous long roots,
down toward the centre of the earth.
Why do we believe growth has to be outward?
Why must growth be visible?
The euphorbia begins small; its trunk soft and pulpous
but slowly it becomes a tree,
its trunk firms.
It understands that sometimes the sun will be harsh,
the soil will become dry,
rain will not come.
But it stays rooted in the earth, pointed toward the sky,
And it knows its abundance lives within.
It finds nourishment from the water within.
The euphorbia goes inward,
feeding itself from the inside out.
I would like my sister Ayako to read something from Song of Songs,
one of the most beautiful books of the Old Testament.
Under the apple tree I woke you,
in the place where you were born.
Close your heart to every love but mine;
hold no one in your arms but me.
Love is as powerful as death;
passion is as strong as death itself.
It bursts into a flame
and burns like a raging fire.
Water cannot put it out;
no flood can drown it.
We are spiritual beings living the human experience.
I am a firm believer that the purpose of life is to allow our soul to grow.
God willing, we leave this earth with a higher spiritual station.
How do we do this?
We accept and honour every experience,
most certainly the sour ones,
the one’s that sting
as this is how we know where to work.
We are shown, this is where we need to go deeper.
Rumi says, The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
Each person brings a mirror to us;
showing us where we need to do the work,
either through augmenting and magnifying our positive traits
or through massaging and ironing out our negative.
Only abrasion makes a rough stone a smooth pebble.
Some believe that before we are born,
we call each and every experience onto us,
we call each and every person so that they can be our teacher so that we can propel our soul further.
Each encounter allows us to know the world
and this is how the world will knows us.
This is how we know light and darkness
and how darkness and light will know us.
This is how we learn
what our personal truth is.
I am learning about love, I guess we all are.
What I know so far is, when you get into the business of love, you become an ambassador. Your union,
What are the colours of your flag,
what do you stand for,
how does your flag sway?
I believe it is important for people to look to you as a couple and see light,
for people to look to you and get a sense of calm.
How wonderful if people can be drawn to you, and get a sense of ease.
Why do I say all this?
Perhaps because I so fervently believe in God.
God has many names, Spirit, oneness, the universe, the Divine, the Creator, Allah, Earth, Nature.
For me, being close to God, remembering God and feeling the presence of the Divine is what life is about.
This is how we connect to our true spirit, this is how we know our purpose, connecting is how we walk with the calm of the ocean within us.
So why all this talk about Embassies and visas?
Because through a union of love,
through magnifying love we shine light, endless light,
and in this way we remind others of the Divine within them.
Love, music, art, all these many things are visual manifestations of praise and devotion to the feeling of Oneness, the feeling of God.
So remember, Laura and Espen, you are ambassadors now,
and this union of love means you can inspire others,
and by your presence,
you can heal others.
And in this way, you must always think highly of and see the divine in your partner,
and they, in return must do the same.
This is how you keep your vibration high,
this is the love frequency.
Of course there will be times when it will be trying to be on the high vibration of love,
but here we practice patience
and balance what we esteem to be and what we are right now. Like the two cups of teas being poured into each other in order to find the optimum temperature for the pallet of the Lover’s mouth.
Knowing we are the manifestation of our ancestors’ blood, sweat, tears and prayers.
Knowing that we are the current representatives of our lineage.
This means that we have an important role to play.
God willing, you will have children of your own,
and you will pass this blessing onto them.
So your ambassadorship is a spiritual leadership of the utmost importance.
More love is needed in the world.
Each one of us needs to become beacons of light.
The Love HeadQuarters, aka One Love HQ is open for applications for the School of Love Diplomacy.
I know two more things,
in life, when things get thick,
and time gets tough,
this is an invitation to push our soul growth,
it is our choice, if we take it.
And the other thing I know,
is sour always comes with sweet.
Always. That is a universal law.
Difficulty comes along with respite.
Now I would like to sing a song by the Spice Girls,
No just joking.
Now I would like to read a poem by Ben Okri, a British-Nigerian writer.
Be grateful for the freedom
To see other dreams.
Bless your loneliness as much as you drank of your former companionships.
All that you are experiencing now
Will become moods of future joys
So bless it all.
Do not think your ways superior
Do not venture to judge
But see things with fresh and open eyes
Do not condemn
But praise what you can
And when you can’t,
Time is now a gift for you
A gift of freedom
To think and remember and understand
The ever perplexing past
And to re-create yourself anew
In order to transform time.
Live while you are alive.
Learn the ways of silence and wisdom
Learn to act, learn a new speech
Learn to be what you are in the seed of your spirit
Learn to free yourself from all things that have moulded you
And which limit your secret and undiscovered road.
Remember that all things which happen
To you are raw materials
Endlessly yielding of thoughts that could change
Your life and go on doing so forever.
Never forget to pray and be thankful
For all the things good or bad on the rich road;
For everything is changeable
So long as you live while you are alive.
Fear not, but be full of light and love;
Fear not but be alert and receptive;
Fear not but act decisively when you should;
Fear not, but know when to stop;
Fear not for you are loved by me;
Fear not, for death is not the real terror,
But life - magically – is.
Be joyful in your silence
Be strong in your patience
Do not try to wrestle with the universe
But be sometimes like water or air
Sometimes like fire
Live slowly, think slowly, for time is a mystery.
Requires that you to be
The greatest person you are capable of being,
and strong and gentle-
Your own hero and star.
Love demands the best in us
To always and in time overcome the worst
and lowest in our souls.
Love the world wisely.
It is love alone that is the greatest weapon
And the deepest and hardest secret.
So fear not, my friend.
The darkness is gentler than you think.
Be grateful for the manifold
Dreams of creation
And the many ways of unnumbered peoples.
Be grateful for life as you live it.
And may a wonderful light
Always guide you on the unfolding road.
Please may you stand.
Now it is time to give our blessing to Laura and Espen.
There is a portion that Laura and Espen will recite,
then I will invite you,
the congregation to join in.
Then as a symbolism of the union,
Laura and Espen will blow onto the water,
place some water on each other’s forehead
and they will then drink from the chalice.
In this way,
they give the water our collective blessings
and by consuming it,
you two will keep the prayers within you.
Consider this to be the water the succulent keeps within!
Laura and Espen, please repeat after me;
Laura and Espen
In the presence of those that came before us
and those that will come after us,
in the presence of the angels of love,
the angels of protection
and the angels of peace,
let it be heard on earth and in heaven,
in all time and space,
From the great one we come
And to the Great one we return.
Here, we stand face to face,
strong in our love,
strong in our union.
Rooted to the earth and her beauty,
Aligned with the cosmos and her magnificence.
Our love protected,
our path illuminated
our love magnifying by God-fold.
Losses and divisions released and healed.
Cycles that keep us from being our highest vision cut.
Sugar dissolving in milk. Day and night, no difference.
The sun the moon: an amalgam.
Gold and silver melt together.
New moon, full moon.
Through Light and darkness.
joy and more joy,
laughter and more laughter,
light upon light
songs and more songs
blessings upon blessings,
I see you.
I would like the congregation to join in now,
May we be loved,
May we keep learning,
may we walk along the golden path of light
may the only darkness we let into our life
be the night,
but even then we have the moon.
As above and so below,
Light upon light,
Joy and more joy,
songs and more songs
blessings upon blessings.
Laura please blow onto the water,
Philippa sings Al Fatiha
Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen Iyyaaka na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen Aameen
Philippa blows onto Water in chalice.
Laura please dab your finger in the water and place some water on his forehead,
And Espen, please do the same.
May I invite you to have a sip.
Kindly seal this blessing with a French kiss,
Laura and Espen, I will take the liberty of speaking from all those absent today; your father Lino, your brother Danny and Sister Anna, your uncle David, Auntie Esther, Uncle Lorenzo and Uncle Mesfin from our heart of hearts, we wish you all the bounty of the heavens.
Dear congregation, thank you for your presence and blessings,
may peace be with you.