St. Michael’s Vicarage

Dear People of Alnwick,

I have just officiated at the first wedding of the year at St. Michael’s.

For some unknown reason, all the weddings in 2014 are taking place in the second half of the year and so a series of meetings has taken place over recent months with the various couples who are preparing for their big event. (And, of course, what has been said in those meetings has had increased significance for me as my own wedding draws ever closer!)

As I take the couples through the wedding service and try to explain to them the symbolism and teaching which lies behind the words and actions, we come across that old fashioned concept of commitment.

Commitment doesn’t come much more seriously than when two people pledge themselves to each other exclusively for the rest of their lives in a relationship which we hope and pray will be not only lifelong but also life-giving.

Another concept which we tend to spend some time exploring in these meetings is that of the relationship growing, maturing and changing as the years go by.

Thinking on these things has helped me in recent weeks to see how we can also apply them to Christ’s relationship with each one of us – and ours with him.

“God so loved the world that he sent his Son …”

Yes, he sent his Son to the world – but the world is made up of countless individuals. Each of us has – or can have – a unique relationship with Jesus as strong and as meaningful as our earthly relationships. But that relationship, too, if it is to be truly life-giving, requires complete commitment.

It can also grow, mature and change in the same manner as that of an earthly relationship – if we allow it to do so.

My own parents had been married 59 years when my father died – and they still held hands as they walked along together. The nature of their relationship had, undoubtedly, changed over the years but, in its maturing, there was ‘quality’ which I cannot put into words.

So, as each bride and groom stand before me in the coming months (and on my own wedding day) I will remind myself of the need to be completely committed and constantly to work for growth and maturity not only in earthly relationships but also in my relationship with Christ.

Perhaps, as you walk into St. Michael’s on a Sunday morning, and see confetti lying near the doorway, you might like to offer a prayer for the adventure upon which all newly married couples embark and also consider how committed and mature your own relationship is with the One whose commitment to you (and all of us) is the perfect example of unconditional love.

With every blessing,

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