Rehearsal Dinner, June 6, 2003

Mel, father of the groom, gave this "talk" at the rehearsal dinner on June 6, 2003 in honor of Jenna Theodore and Thomas Sinclair.  It was with heartfelt joy, laughter and tears, that the below message was given.  A special thanks to Niven Sinclair, from "across the pond" whose assistance was most significant in drafting the first part of this message.  It's great to have an extended family, "unofficial" perhaps, to celebrate this very special voyage of matrimony as these two young people begin a new chapter in their lives.  I owe a lot of thanks to many people and I love you all.  Most especially, I ask that God bless them, keep them safe, and watch over them as they make use of their God given talents for His name and glory.

Mel Sinclair

***** Begin the talk *****

Lynne and I would like to welcome you all here tonight.  We are very pleased that each one of you could be here.  We are also very excited about THE upcoming event tomorrow!  I also want to thank many of you who are here tonight for the warm reception that you have given the Sinclair family.  We thank you for your warmth, kindness, and courtesy. 

I would like to introduce my family to you.  Our eldest son, Michael, his wife Kimberly and their son, Liam.  Our youngest, Kimberly Sinclair and her daughter, Kailey.  And lastly, but the “man of the hour”, Thomas and our daughter-in-law to be, Jenna.  Oh, and my name is Mel! 

Over the recent past, I have learned one thing for certain, the Greeks are very proud of their heritage – and rightly so!  -- However, let me assure you that the Scots are equally as proud of their heritage.  So, I have endeavored to do a little research, and I must admit … I can’t say that it’s 100% accurate, but the theme of this part of my message is that -- 

The Greeks and the Scots have much in common: 

For example ------- 

St Andrew is the patron Saint of both countries. 

The kilt and the bagpipes are said to have originated in Greece. 

We both like our drink.  The Greeks with their ouzo (u’-zo) and we with our whisky. 

Edinburgh is known as the Athens of the North. 

Greeks and Scots are mainland and island people.

Both countries have spectacular scenery. 

Both countries have a strong commercial trading tradition

      which is why..... 

Both Greeks and Scots have emigrated in large numbers to the United States and elsewhere – in fact, there are more Greeks and Scots overseas than in their own countries and yet both people retain a passion for their homelands. 

The Greeks brought architecture, literature and democracy to the World. The Scots brought engineering, ship-building and -- Robert Burns.

The Greeks gave us the Olympic Games.

The Scots gave us golf and soccer 

But you know the World is changing … 

     when the best rapper is a white man

     when the best golfer is a black man

     when the Swiss, a land-locked country, won the prestigious sailing event, the America's Cup

     when the French accuse the Americans of being  arrogant

     and when the Germans don't want to go to war 

But today, common sense .. and love .. and the melting pot, which is America, have transcended national boundaries and brought these two young people, Jenna and Thomas, together. 

My son is a lucky man.  I am a lucky man to have such a wonderful and beautiful daughter-in-law to be; and for the Sinclair’s to have been welcomed into such a warm and friendly family.  This gathering says it all. This hospitality says it all.  These flowers say it all but, -- while the blooms may fade, the roots will endure to flower --- and flower again in our children -- and in their children -- such is the cycle of life.   

So let us rejoice.  Let us drink to the happy couple 

And here is the toast, which is an old Scottish blessing: 

TOAST:  May all the hills lie low before them. 

Now, you may have thought that I had finished, however, I want to share an analogy with you, one that I shared with our son Michael and his lovely wife, Kimberly, at their rehearsal dinner and one which Jenna specifically requested ---   

As some of you may know, to say that I enjoy sailing is an understatement.  I can’t think of anything so refreshing and peaceful as sailing in blue water in a gentle breeze -- but at times the water isn’t such a friendly place and the breeze is anything but gentle.  Before I get ahead of myself, let me begin my story about ----- 

Sailing Through Marriage 

Surely you must agree with me …. Aren't sailboats a thing of grace and beauty, with their stately lean and sails filled with wind? It would appear that when sailing, that one would be driven, for the most part, in the direction the wind was blowing. But a sail boat can go in a complete circle depending on the set of the sails and the rudder.  

That being the case, one can choose any destination and sail there. Usually not in a straight-line, but one can get there nevertheless.  

Marriages are like that. Life can bring periods of refreshing breezes or dark storms -- and depending on our response, can bring excitement or tragedy. It is not normally the external circumstances that dictate the outcome; it is the captain's response.  

A novice sailor is often hard pressed to tell which way the wind is blowing.  The reason is actually pretty simple. The motion of the sail boat itself creates a perception of wind.   

Think of riding a bicycle.  It has nothing to do with the real wind, and when the real wind is combined with this result of motion, there is an apparent wind from a direction somewhere in between. With the sails set correctly, you can travel faster than the sailboat is designed to sail.   

When they are set incorrectly, you coast to a stop - or even drift backwards. A good marriage creates synergism between husband and wife; conflicts can stall out a marriage.  

When we teach sailboat safety, we suggest practicing a few capsizes just to get a feel for it. When the boat is on its side and you are in the water, what do you do? We give the students some useful suggestions, but without practice, they will all be forgotten when they are needed the most. In a marriage, “practice phrases” such as "I'm sorry", "I love you", "It's my fault" will serve one well when the "seas get angry".  

A book written by a knowledgeable sailor who cares about your safety is invaluable preceding a maiden voyage. The book written by a knowing and caring Creator is invaluable before beginning a marriage. As every voyage has its teaching events, every year of marriage brings learning to the relationship. When you step into a boat and raise the sail, events are set in motion and if you don't have the centerboard down for stability and a hand on the tiller for direction, you will likely go where you don't want to go.  

When a couple says "I do" and two become one, events are set in motion and if they haven't lowered the centerboard of commitment and have the rudder of faithfulness firmly in hand, they will surely go where they don't want to go. But when it all comes together according to God's plan, the marriage voyage is a thing of grace, and beauty, and joy, and exhilaration.  

The tenth chapter of the book of John, verse 10b says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. 


LET US PRAY: ---(after a moment)------ 

Watch over thy children, O Lord, as their days increase; bless and guide them wherever they may be.  Strengthen them when they stand; comfort them when they are discouraged or sorrowful; raise them up if they should fall; and in their hearts may thy peace which passes all understanding abide in them all the days of their lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen 

Thank you … and may God bless you all, but more especially Jenna and Thomas as they begin their voyage.

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