Marriage of a handy man

G & D were very kind in helping to decorate our whole church before their wedding, at a greatly reduced rate. G a painter/decorator worked for a local building firm, and he and a team of friends ensured that the church looked splendid.

Here we are on this beautiful day, witnessing at long last, the marriage of a lovely couple, G and D, in our freshly decorated church.

…many thanks to D's parents for the scaffolding which they very kindly provided, and also G's firm of Harry Kindred who did such a splendid job. What a team!

My father used to do a lot of painting and decorating, my mother was the ‘gaffa’ or foreman, and my sister and I got involved too in each new job, and we made a good team. I still remember yet what my dad used to call his ‘golden rules’, without which the job couldn't be done properly.

"Clear the decks of all old wallpaper, keep everything tidy" he would say, "fill in cracks and sand down any little lumps perfectly, before laying any new paper down."

But before any paper went on the wall there was the all important weighted plumb line, which he used to chalk, then twang against the wall in order to set the mark for the first roll to be put into place, straight and true, before any others went on.

Painting and decorating can get very messy if the groundwork's not done properly; if the cracks are just papered over, or of course, or if the team is not working in harmony and the gaffa's nowhere to be found.

There are golden rules to follow in marriage, rules very similar to those in decorating.

There's a lot of groundwork to be done, before, during and after.

Good marriages don't just fall from heaven, there's always work to be done, if they’re to go the distance.

You must work as a team, and follow the golden rules.

G, D and A (their young daughter) have already covered some distance together. They come here today as a ready made team, well rehearsed and raring to go.

There's very little they don't already know about each other.

I'm sure they already follow their own family rules, but I'm sure they will both agree that no rule is as important as the one mentioned in the reading which Pat has just read to us, and that is to love with a perfect love.

Love is the cement, which binds everything together. . . like the paste that sticks two pieces of wallpaper together. They cannot easily be separated, once fixed, if pulled apart, without great damage being done to both sheets of paper.

The kind of love mentioned in our reading describes love not so much as an abstract noun, but as an active verb. Love involves doing.

It's the kind of love that is generous, full of understanding, patience and kindness.

It is a love that is full of forgiveness and thanksgiving, not holding lists of past wrongs, and not easily angered or irritated.

… It's a love that overflows with care and concern, a love that seeks to serve the other, and put the other's needs before its own.

This is the kind of love that St Paul talks about in his message to the Corinthians. This is the kind of love we see reflected in Jesus himself and which is at the heart of Christian belief.

He made time for this kind of love, and so must we all, for this kind of love will be able to hold its own against any storms that come hurtling against it.

The love of Jesus is the PLUMB LINE, embrace it and everything else falls into place; without it, marriages seem to go off at an angle.

I once forgot the golden rule to use a plumb line when decorating once, and the outcome was dreadful. The entire job had to be done all over again.

Similarly it's never too late in a marriage to make new and mend what has gone wrong.

It's never too late to recreate and build again when the damage is done.

And we must not keep looking back too hard at mistakes of the past. . . we’re all far from perfect.

I heard of a bride once who was being driven to church for her wedding in a taxi. Halfway there she thought of something she had forgotten and she tapped the driver on the shoulder. The man hit the brakes, and the taxi squealed to a skidding halt in the middle of the road. Then the taxi driver turned round and with a dead white face said, "I'm sorry love, but I usually drive the hearse!"

So instead of looking back, there is a need to look forward with confidence. For each new day is a brand new opportunity to make new the promises, which you have just made today, and the words "Sorry love!" are all important when things go off centre.

D and G you are wished the kind of love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always protects.

We pray that your love will grow stronger with each passing year, and that you will always be a team with God as gaffa at the centre of it all., and that you will be, dare I say, KINDRED spirits.

Whatever the future holds for you, we pray that you will stand firm and be shining examples to others of all that a good marriage should be.

May God pour his blessings upon you, now and always .

Amen.