“…So he (the prodigal son) got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Lk 15: 20-24)
The Parable of the Prodigal Son reminds us of one of the oft-forgotten Christian meanings of the wedding ring: It is a sign, among other things, of the two people approaching the Sacrament of Unity, Marriage, being accepted into the compassion and unity of the Father’s “home“ through their own mutual acceptance, compassion and unity. As the priest says in a prayer of the Byzantine Service of Betrothal, “...by a ring our heavenly Father showed compassion upon His son; for He said: Bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us have a feast and celebrate.”
Thus the wedding ring reminds those of us who are married of being “bound” in compassion for each other, despite our shortcomings, just as we are continuously accepted and re-accepted into our Father’s “home” by His great compassion and embrace. So if we’ve been “drifting apart” in a marriage, let us remember to “run” to each other as He does to us, even while we are “still a long way off.” He throws His arms around us and kisses us, no questions asked. Lord, help us do likewise, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen!