I love the coffee pop in morning that happens weekly in St Ms church room. Each week there seems to be a new retired person that has just moved into the village that someone has brought along. It is the best place to meet people. I wish the regulars would treat Sunday and church in the same way and bring their friends with them to something they love to do. The pop in has become a kind of church (without the worshipping). It has become a welcoming community that supports each other. It’s a place where I listen to the stuff of their lives (often in great detail)
Today, the hot topic of conversation was Giles Frasers thought for the day on radio four. He was talking about how the cost of weddings is spiralling out of control and how the media have encouraged an atmosphere of narcissism and self-promotion to work its way into marriage celebrations. Some great reminiscing went on this morning about weddings and some tears were shed as many of the folks in the room were now widows and were married over 50 years ago.
I think Giles had it spot on when he said, ‘Too many modern weddings have just lost their way. I’d even say that they’ve become a threat to marriage itself. For the whole point of a wedding is that the married couple are agreeing to place the interests of another before their own. In marriage, you agree that somebody other than you will be the centre of gravity in your life. To this extent marriage is a sacrament because it points to the relationship of faith where someone places one’s own life into the hands of God. But I can’t see how any of this – secular or sacred – is marked when the ceremony itself is specifically designed to be all about ‘me’, about being a ‘princess for a day’.
Of course, when it’s done right, a wedding is simply wonderful. When two people overcome their fear and instinct for self-protection and place their heart into the hands of another for safekeeping, then a mini-miracle occurs. And indeed, it’s this miracle of trust and love that’s at the heart of a flourishing human community.’
Giles would have been proud of the couple getting married next year that I met last night. As I passed a house (having just visited another couple to fill out their banns form) they popped their head out of the window (making me jump nearly out of my skin). ‘We’ve just moved into Mum and Dad’s old house! Come in for a cuppa’. (One of those God moments. I didn’t know they had moved and it gave me a chance to ask about Dad and Grandad both in hospital. ) We talked about how the preparations were going for the wedding. They told me how they had been round all the local hotels and realised just how much all the add-ons would cost. All lovely, but ridiculously expensive. One hotel wanted £1000 to dress the tables, to which the groom said blow that for a laugh I’ll come and set the tables on the morning of the wedding and you can pay me!. Instead they have booked the village hall (£20) and ‘the aunties’ will do the cooking and make it look nice (they’ll love it, it will be just like the old times), the pub will run a bar (they can have the profit) and we can walk to church but maybe we’ll use the landrovers if it is snowing in February. YES!
The ‘groom’ (35) has just moved back into the house that he grew up in as a child. It feels strange. He says that for the first time in his life he suddenly feels like a ‘grown up’. It is a huge privilege to live in the village that your parents and grandparents grew up in. There is something special about community continuity and shared stories. I think it gives you more confidence. There won’t be any need for this couple to splash out on the wedding because it is not about them as individuals. They don’t need to keep up with the ‘Jones’ as their security is in something bigger. The village will rally round and give them the best wedding ever.
Am now praying fervently that their Dad and Grandad live to see the special day. Please God.