Wedding of Sebastian and Carlein

There are lots of things that make a marriage work. Some of them you will already know, some of them you may learn today, and many of them you will learn in the months and years to come.

But, as I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t see into the future, we will have to make do with what today can teach about long and happy marriages.

Our reading from Paul’s letter to the Colossians suggests some of the qualities you are to wear if your marriage is to be long and most importantly, happy. He says, ‘clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity’.

Love, the unifying factor, which makes everything perfect.

Part of what we are doing today, is praying for Sebastian and Carlein’s love. The love they have for each other, the love they have for God, and the love God has for them. Because we heard at the beginning of the service, that God is love, and those who live in love, lives in God and God lives in them. A simple line, until you start to think about it further.

God is love, and if he didn’t love us, we wouldn’t be able to love others.

God is love, and it’s love like God’s that we try to embody because his is a love that is perfect and eternal and will pass the test of time.

Sebastian and Carlein, we pray for you today, that you will grow in the love that you share, and that your love may be perfect like God’s love for you. And in the times when your love is tested, you will remember the words of St Paul, and you will find that your love is the kind described in our first reading from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin,

“Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and, when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two”.

Wedding Sermon Joe Wyatt & Maggie Little

Psalm 100 & Philippians 4. 4-9

Today is deemed one of the most romantic days of the year. Up and down the country and around the world, symbols of love are being exchanged. Some will do it in small gestures, chocolates, or flowers maybe, some will do it in secret. For others it will be a huge occasion, and I’m not sure if you can get a larger gesture of love then what Joe and Maggie are doing today, to marry, and declare their love for each other in front of their family and friends.
One thing we can be sure of is that neither of you have any excuse for forgetting your anniversary!!!
To be loved, I believe, is the deepest of our human desires, and to give love, is one of the greatest of human joys. The pursuit of love has been well documented down the ages and appears in all of our greatest works of art and literature. And it is good and right that we have a day to celebrate our love.
The legend of St Valentine himself is a story of love conquering. Valentine was a priest who lived during the Roman era. Emperor Claudius II had prohibited marriage, declaring that it was better for men to become soldiers in his army, and that’s what he expected them to do. However Valentine disagreed and continued to marry people in secret. Valentine acted against the authorities to ensure that people love could still be declared and couples could still make vows.
It didn’t take long after his death for Valentine’s story to catch the imaginations of people, and the church declared that St Valentine’s day would become a celebration.
It is good, and right that we should celebrate love, wherever we find it. And I hope that your celebrations Joe and Maggie will not be reserved to just one day. Because we are told in our readings that we are to rejoice; we are to rejoice and make joyful sounds wherever we see something that is true and honourable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and excellent. And we pray today that your marriage will be full of these things, so that every day you are together will be a celebration and an occasion of deep joy.
This is a day of celebration, of love shared, exchanged and declared in front of God and in front of your family and friends and I’m sure they will all do exactly what the readings ask, they will rejoice with you.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like…….. Matthew 22.1-14

The kingdom of heaven is like the wedding a slave owning king put on, that no one wanted to attend!!!

Thankfully not.

If I’ve learnt anything since my ordination, it’s the difficulties involved in organising a wedding. And for any of you who have been through this process, you can sympathize with the situation the king in our parable is in.

You might think that the most difficult part of arranging a wedding is dealing with the particular wants of the bride and groom. But it isn’t. One of the pieces of advice my old incumbent gave to the groom was ‘Remember, this wedding isn’t about you, you are the least important member of the wedding party, as long as you do and say nothing that will upset the bride or her family you might just survive this!’

The trickiest part of organising a wedding are the invitations. Who needs to be invited, and who should be left out?

Where should the all sit, and what protocols should be followed?

Who are the most important people and need to sit near the top table, and who should be sat in the far back corner of the room?

Who can’t sit next to who because they’ll fight, and who will sulk if they don’t get a seat to match their imagined importance.

Tricky stuff!!!!!

And for those of you who thought organising your own wedding was stressful, try organising one for the son of a king!

So the RSVPs start coming in, and the invited guests are all declining the kings invitation. The wedding of the year and no one wants to come! The oxen and the fatted calves have all been killed and cooked for the occasion, and it looks like no one is coming. Disaster!!!!!

There are a great many excuses in the building pile of declines. A farmer sends his apologies, he suddenly finds himself with too many chores. Likewise for the business owner, whose work comes first, before the king’s function.

We know all too well that there are times in life when we are just too busy to go accepting other invitations. And all those times when the possibility of encountering God arises, and yet we find good excuses for ignoring such moments. We don’t intentionally make light of these invitations, we just give more weight, more attention, more time into other things.

Although their excuses were all valid, the first century hearers of this parable now expect the king to lose his rag.

The kings of the day were political leaders – and figures the crowds would have been familiar with – kings being petty tyrants generally who would happily burn down houses and whole villages if their will was refused. And this is what the king does.

But, there is a twist.

The king also sends his slaves out and issues an open invitation to all – with only one catch.

You have to accept the invitation to join. Apart from that, there is no fees and no catches, you just have to show up. And we hear, the good and the bad show up and the hall was filled with guests.

The kingdom of heaven is like a wedding party that everyone is invited to.

And how could people not accept this offer? When all we have to do is say yes – but like the kings invited guests, things get in the way. Jobs and careers, families, hobbies, excuse, after excuse, after excuse.

If we jump back to the parable for just a moment, there is a problem. We’re told that one of the guests is not dressed properly,

‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’

And he gets thrown out of the party.

A little harsh we might think, but as many commentators remind us, most wedding guests didn’t have a large wardrobe and the guests would have been provided a robe by the host.

So wearing one of the provided robes would have been a response to the hospitality offered.

But he doesn’t respond.

And God is simply asking him, “Why are you still sinful, still refusing my love, still unrepentant, still cold towards me?”

‘He was speechless’

Who of us really has an excuse when confronted by God?

We are surrounded by God’s providence, we are taught by the church, those around us and the scriptures, we are fed by Christ’s flesh and blood, guided by the Spirit, and sought, and pursued in a million ways. What explanation could we possibly give for our ultimate failure to comprehend this invitation?

God invites all human life to experience the presence of the divine. And there is a welcome for all who want to be there. None are forced.

But there is a choice to be made.

Join the party or don’t. Accept all our host has to offer, or don’t.

There are no hurdles to jump or obstacles to overcome, expect the ones we place for ourselves.

The kingdom of heaven is like a wedding party that everyone was invited to, rich, poor, healthy, ill, good and bad, and all they had to do was accept.

You are invited. What are you going to do?

Wedding sermon – wedding in Cana

These are a few notes from my sermon at a wedding last Saturday.

This may be a very familiar words, Avery familiar story. The wedding at Cana. Appropriate because it talks about a wedding. But more then that, it talks about Jesus bringing a transformation into our day to day lives. taking those ordinary things and making them extrodanary. Water, a very common and ordinary part of our day to day lives being made into something special wine.

This was the first miracle Jesus performed. It wasn’t his last.

We’re not exactly asking for a miracle today. There is not much we can do about the weather, and I hope that Kenny and Natalie have ordered enough booze for tonight.

No today we are here to witness a transformation. Marriage is a joining together as St Matthew puts it, they are no longer two individuals, they are one flesh. What God has joined together let no one separate.

And this is our pray for today, that Kenny and Natalie will be joined together and that they will love with a love that Siobhan read, a love that is patient, and kind, that does not keep a record. I love that will continue forever.

We gather together today to witness and to celebrate. We pray for a very long and happy marriage or you both and every good blessing from god

“I Wanna Be Loved By You”, Marilyn Monroe and Marriage

I used the lines from this song in a wedding sermon last Saturday, ‘I wanna be loved by you, just you, and nobody else but you’. It symbolises the dream of every couple in love, and particularly to couples getting married. The hope that their love will be lasting, forever, that their love and get them though;

‘For better for worse,
For richer for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
As long as we both shall live,’

To be loved is a wonderful gift that many of us often feel unworthy of, but I think to love is the better gift. To love unconditionally an even greater gift.

In each wedding I take, I try to convey that among the love shared by the couple, and the love given and received between the individuals in the congregation is a greater love, the love that Christ has for us.

The story of each couples marriage will be the story of their love, the love that they are able to show each other, and I pray for each couple that the love they have for one another will be close to Christ’s love for us.

Wedding Sermon, Gareth and Libby.

Readings from the wedding.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a

In our reading from St Pauls letter to the Corinthians, we find Paul talking about love. He is not talking in general, but is saying that this is the type of love that we should have for each other.
It’s a reading which is popular for weddings, because it reminds us of some of the things needed to have a long and happy marriage and those things that will harm a relationship.

You must be patient and tolerant. Kind, truthful, and trusting. Free of jealousy and envy of each other. You cannot be selfish and only think of yourself. You cannot be touchy or resentful. You must be able to forgive and forget, and not keep score of each others mistakes.

You must work together, and keep all evil away from you. You must be honest with each other.
You need to protect each other, trust each other. And when these things are done, your love will never fail.

And we have come together today, because we believe this is what Gareth and Libby have together. We believe that they have this true love which Paul speaks of, and we are here to celebrate with them as they declare their love and trust and faithfulness will last for all time.
We pray together, that over their years together, they may be reminded of these qualities, so that their love will NEVER fail.

We all know the marriage vows quite well, most of us will know them because we have made them ourselves, or we know them from TV. And so we know that part of them say ‘To have and to hold, from this day forward’ and they end ‘for as long as we both shall live’ and they have some of these qualities of love in the middle of them.

This promise is for life, it’s a promise to be with, and to walk with that person, for the rest of your lives.

And its quite fitting that Libby chose one of her favourite poems to be read out today, Footprints.
It talks about our walk with God, and two sets of footprints in the sand.

After today, there will be three sets of footprints in the sand. And at times, when you look back, you may only see two. Because you are called to walk with each other during the good times, and to carry each other through the bad.