While we were in Israel last month, hubby and I got a chance to renew our marriage vows in Cana of Galilee, site of the wedding feast where Jesus turned the water into wine.
It was a very solemn ceremony and we were four couples who were wed that day by our pilgrimage priest, Fr. Arlo Yap, svd. I was only wearing a simple white dress while hubby was wearing a white shirt. Two elder couples were wearing their gowns [and one with matching veil] and the youngest couple who were going their second year, just wore white shirts. Our witnesses were our pilgrim-ates, about twenty in number.
Our guide, Yoram, came so prepared, he managed to get us brides single roses for our bouquets. And Fr. Arlo was even more ready when he played an instrumental song while we couples marched down the aisle.
The church was small and not lavish in design. It was very simple, but in its simplicity, lies its beauty. Just made of limestone and like a bungalow, I did not find it hard to imagine what it was like during the time of Jesus and his mother Mary.
I was relieved that Fr. Arlo made scripts for our vows, but he caught us off guard when after reciting what he prepared, he made us say our vows in our own tongues. We were the last ones to say ours, but OMG, those elder couples who were thirty-eight years and twenty six years in their marriages were so emotional, one pair was crying while saying the vows.
My husband uttered something like “I reiterate my love and fidelity to you” and I couldn’t think of something to say but “I’m glad I married you. I love you very much”. Gesh.
Right after the wedding, we got our certificates just outside the church and then Yoram informed us that we got to drink free wines in the wine store across the church. It’s said it was the same wine that Jesus drank during those days. I had to drink it for the experience even if I don’t usually drink. It was sweet.
After drinking wine, I looked around the store and picked an eye cream with minerals from the Dead Sea, so I bought one. However, when I paid, the cashier asked me why I wasn’t buying wine. I said, I already tasted it and I just want the eye cream. She insisted, “but you’re in Cana, how could you not buy wine?” and got two bottles from behind her. I did not have the guts to refuse her and just paid for it.
The wine wasn’t that expensive. I wasn’t planning to buy it for fear the bottles might break in my luggage after the long journey. Thank God, they were fine when we came home. I gave one bottle to my aunt and kept one for ours as a remembrance of our wedding in Cana.
When I joined the pilgrimage, I already knew we could get married in the Church of Cana, but i didn’t make a big deal about it. Then, when I came home, everybody was so amazed and envious and congratulating me. That’s when I searched the internet and saw that couples really make a plan and purposely go to Cana for a renewal of their vows. I should have brought my wedding gown [which still fits me, by the way!].
I’m really grateful for God’s grace that we got the rare chance to renew our vows at the very site where Jesus performed His first miracle. I really feel God’s overwhelming love and favor.
Today is our 11th Wedding Anniversary. We thank the Lord for all the blessing He has bestowed on us as a couple since the day we said “I Do” until today.
Thank you, Lord for everything! Yours is the glory!