Friday, 25 September 2015

'Nice Day for a Goth Wedding' - transcript of sermon, prayers and grace...

Joe & Jen Wedding 23rd September 2015

I claim no originality for the Grace, I found this on the internet.

The 'Prayers' are from the Anglican Church web site for Weddings. 

The poem 'It is a Gift' is mine so please recognize copyright.

Song of Songs – 8.6 & 1 John 4: 7 -12

‘Songs of Love’

‘Love is all around us’ – but just what does this little word mean.

In the Greek language of the New Testament there are four words used for love.

Eros – and I would hazard a guess you may not know ancient Greek but you will know what that one means.

Philia - which is a kind of ‘brotherly love’ – a love between equals and gives a name to an American City, but has nothing to do with cream cheese!

Storge – which is the kind of love a parent would have for their children.

And then Agape, which is often considered to be the highest form of love.  This is a word still used today by some Christians as they gather together and share a common life with each other.

Should you want to know more, then C.S. Lewis, he of Narnia fame, wrote a book called ‘Four Loves.’ 

Now as rich as the English language is, we have to make this one word do an awful lot of jobs and explain a whole raft of ideas and emotions.

The hope is that we will understand the context and make the necessary accommodation.

For example, later on Joe might be downing a nice pint of Doombar in the bar and say, ‘I really love a nice pint of ale.’ 

We should know that he means something different from the covenant love he is now declaring for Jen.

Similarly, when Jen says that she loves her Irregular Choice shoes – well, Jen loves her Irregular Choice shoes!

This short poem seeks to encapsulate something of this small and yet very powerful word.

                                ‘It Is a Gift’

     Love is word
     Often spoken
     Seldom heard

     ‘I love you’
     Means what;
     A feeling, a desire?

     Does it mean, ‘I give?’
     Does it mean, ‘I always will?’
     Does it mean, ‘yours forever?’

     In the market it is cheap,
     Ten a penny, or even less;
     But in life, real life!

     So say it only once or twice,
     And enjoy every word,
     Like a jewel, precious and rare.

     Because, ‘I love you’
     Should never mean,
     But now I don’t.

     © Gordon Banks 1981

It is a Christian belief that all love emanates from God.

We heard something of that in our second reading from the 1st Letter of John.

1 John 4:7-12

 My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life.

God is love.

There is a story told of someone asking God just how much he loved them…

And God stretched his arms and said, ‘this much.’

Again from John’s Letter… ‘

God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life.

A Christian marriage is called to reflect something of this deep, committed, covenantal  love that God has for the world and supremely for the Church, often referred to as the Bride of Christ.

So much so that in another New Testament Letter written to the Ephesians we read…

A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.  (Ephesians 5:25)

That’s a good quote to remember…

However, one quote worth forgetting is from ‘Love Story’ 

"Love means never having to say you're sorry"

Yes it does and a thousand times over.

We human beings are a complex mix of fears, foibles and funny bits.  The real joy of giving yourself totally to another person in a deep, committed covenantal relationship is that you can be utterly honest.  However, you will mess up and to use a modern phrase, ‘when you mess up - fess up.’

Joe and Jen, today you are embarking upon a remarkable journey and you have called your friends and family together to bear witness to the solemn vows you are to declare to each other.

You have invited a Priest of the Church of God to bless and sanctify these solemn vows.

That’s the right place to begin such a journey.

It is also the place to continue that journey.

A journey that will bring it share of joys as well as sorrows. There will also be a huge amount of simple getting on with life bits, that may at times seem simple boring and very ordinary.

However, from my own experience I can tell you that having God at the very heart and core of that deep, covenanted commitment you make to each other is the most important thing you could possibly do. You have made a good start; my hope and prayer is that you both continue to look to God to guide you on your journey through life together.

A message we could all do to heed!

‘A Fathers Blessing’


Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we lift up our hearts to you
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through Him, you have made a covenant of grace with your people
by the outpouring of your Holy Spirit.

We praise you for the gift of marriage
in which the love of husband and wife
reveals your purposes of love for the world.

We thank you today for Joe and Jen
for leading them to each other
in friendship and love, commitment and trust,
and for bringing them here for the blessing of their marriage.

Living God,
by the presence of your Holy Spirit,
may they know the risen Christ to be with them now,
as they celebrate this covenant together.
May their lives be a witness to your saving love
in this troubled world.

As you pour out your love,
may they grow together in your sight,
and each be to the other
a companion in joy, a comfort in sorrow and a strength in need.

As you blessed the earthly home at Nazareth
with the presence of your Son,
may their home be a place of security and peace.

And bring us all at the last
to that great marriage banquet of your Son
in our home in heaven,
where, with all your saints and angels,
in the glory of your presence,
we will for ever praise you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

'Our Father' to be said in whatever tradition or language you choose...

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.

Let us give thanks for this beautiful day – for the love between Joe and Jen which has brought us all together, and for the meal we are about to enjoy.

Let us remember those who cannot be with us today, and always be thankful for their part in our lives.

Let us be grateful for the joy of this occasion, and grant us the grace to always offer our love and support to Joe and Jen.

May they always have love, strength and happiness in their marriage.

We offer our thanks for all the good things in our lives and in the world, and ask that this day and all present be blessed. Amen

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