Marriage of a close friend's daughter
Marriage of a young Christian couple. The bride is the daughter of a close friend.
It's such a privilege and I feel so excited that N and S have invited their Auntie S to say a few words at their wedding.
The words N and S just roll off the tongue, don't they? …we've all heard of Romeo and Juliet…Darby and Joan…Posh and Becks… N and S! Their names sound so right together.
Of course they've known and loved one another for such a long time, and we've ALL been longing for this moment. And now it has come and they really are at long last…husband and wife.
So having spent half their lifetimes together, it's no wonder that this happy couple have so much in common.
They share so many friends.. so many interests…
They also share many of the virtues we've heard read to us in our N T reading just now; qualities of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, really do already apply to them.
No-one sitting here today can possibly disagree … but did they both come to possess these qualities by nature? Or was it not through 'nurture'?
We all are aware of the loving environment in which both have been brought up. They couldn't have wished for better, more supportive parents, in C and B and J and G, who've instilled in each of them Christian values and close family ties.
Close family ties also meant though , that it was going to take someone very special for S to become dislodged from her big brother K, and see another as her hero. This goes without saying, for N and his sister K, who have been inseparable too, throughout their lives. But I have it on good authority from C, that K feels that she's not so much losing a brother today, as gaining a wonderful sister.
So today before our very eyes we have just witnessed a miracle; a joining together of two very special people, devoid of any sibling tension, because they all get on so very well together.
When N reached the tender age of 13, he remarked to a schoolfriend, what a great mother and what a perfect wife S would make for someone! (now that sounds like the refined chat up line of an 18 year old doesn't it?) It was then that he marked her out for his own, because at the back of his mind (even though he didn't admit it to his friend) he was going to be that man.
N sees S as the kindest, liveliest most thoughtful person he knows, who always puts OTHERS before herself, and who always wears her heart on her sleeve.
He has, at last, captured the prize he longed for all those years ago, and he has won for himself today a most stunning bride.
There's been no-one else in S's affections either. She talks of N as the most patient person ever, so funny and such an entertainer.
She loves the fact that he is so open in his affections too, and that he has such 'charisma' being able to get on so well with people of all ages.
N and S are also both well aware of each other's faults, but there aren't many of them , and it would be unkind of me to tell you them…but if S were not such a perfectionist and a little explosive at times, and if N could get over doing things in 'spurts and bursts' and stop procrastinating, we'd have the most perfect couple sitting here before us today.
But what N and S have to remember on this their wedding day, that they are in fact, each marrying a partner who will NOT be perfect; not one of us is!
Our bible reading says 'Bear with one other and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive!
These are words that go straight to the heart of us all. It's worth being reminded as we all sit here in church today, that forgiveness is essential ; it never fails, in all the difficult situations of life, and in marriages difficult moments.
Then St Paul says, '… above all these, clothe yourselves with love!
When he says 'above all these', he means above all these good qualities, (the ones we've seen in S and N) and it sounds like he's inviting us to put a garment on!
When I was a bridesmaid for the first time as a little girl, I remember trying on my lilac dress. It had so many layers of net, beneath one top layer of organza. I remember stretching my arms in the air, as it was dropped onto me like a cascade, (even though it reeked of the cigarettes the dressmaker smoked while she made it. )
These layers of net remind me of these VIRTUES.
The organza is the top layer of love, which covers all the others, the love which S and N have so openly declared today.
But there's also a fragrance PERMEATING this special garment too, which the bible describes, not as cigarette smoke, but as the sweet smelling fragrance of Jesus Christ himself, who embodied all of these virtues, and who completes the whole picture and shows us something of God's love for us.
In asking God's blessing on your marriage you have invited this fragrant garment to be placed over you and over your future lives.
N and S, our prayer for you this day is that you may aware of the very real presence of Christ today, as you stretch out your arms to each other in marriage, and we pray that he will come cascading into your lives each day as husband and wife.
May I be the first to say to you both, may yours be a love, Mr and Mrs S which will grow, deepen and mature in your future years together, and may the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, now that you are truly one.