This post might be breaking the rules – it’s not about a Cafechurch event, nor about something in the style of Cafechurch that we’ve offered elsewhere. It’s about a normal wedding service. Only it wasn’t normal as it was between two people who’d met through Cafechurch. I was delighted to be asked to take the wedding service for Paul and Hattie. It was fantastic to see them getting married. It was great to see so many Cafechurchers there celebrating with them.
As well as conducting the wedding i was asked to preach – here is the text of the sermon. It explores some themes from one of the readings (1Corinthians 13) and uses lyrics from songs by Elbow.
I’m sure many of you first thing this morning were saying ‘it’s looking like a beautiful day’.
And it certainly was from a meteorological perspective.
But for Paul and Hattie I’m sure there were far more concerns than the weather. I have seen the lists that were stuck to the walls and the planner schedules. I have seen the nervousness about the service – not so much using words they never say, as what saying them means.
But now you’ve said them, and you are married.
Today it’s easy to get wrapped up in an altogether beautiful day, get carried along in the joy of the occasion, the excitement of seeing your plans coming together, the knowing that all those lists have worked and that so many of your friends and family are around you, to share in your wedding day.
It truly is a beautiful day.
Getting here has taken time and has required effort and decision. Something that doesn’t always come easily. Something that is not always straight forward. It has required patience. No doubt you will have started to learn about compromise. However much you thought you knew what love was about when you first got together, when you first decided to get married, you are really only beginning to understand something of what it means to love each other.
Today love is an easy thing to do. Hattie may not always look quite so fabulous as she does today. Paul may have some days that his hair isn’t quite so perfect. But it won’t matter. You will be together and you will learn to really love.
If I loose a sequin here and there
More salt than pepper in my hair
Can I rely on you when all the songs are through
To be for me the everthere, everthere?
At times marriage will be the big adventure, the everything is new and exciting – opportunities will be presented, chances taken, things will work out and you’ll discover things that neither of you ever imagined possible.
That’ll only be possible if you’re able to take risks together, risks that are underpinned by a deep trust in each other.
Sometimes you’ll need to take the decision to say no, to not jump for the exciting adventure but to continue with the ongoing, the everyday, the humdrum, you’ll have to let go of the fanciful idea and take a dose of realism. That isn’t always easy.
We often want our own way. When we don’t get it we can be irritable or resentful. But you have each made a commitment to each other.
Sometimes those commitments require hard work, require you to put the needs of the other first, require that we learn to really love.
If I loose the sequence here and there
Less derring do than quiet care
Can I rely on you for a good talking to
To be for me the everthere, everthere?
If I’m totally honest, you need beautiful days like today (and hopefully more than just one a year), and the memories of them to get you through some times that won’t be quite so joyous.
However much you hope that all aspects of life will be perfect that’s just not going to happen. When things aren’t quite as perfect and shiny as you believe they’ll be it’s not just memories of happy times that will help you endure all things.
It’s not just the two of you facing things. You don’t have to bear all these things alone. Yes, you have the support of family and friends and that is tremendously helpful and important, but that is only part of it. You are stepping forward in marriage with God at the centre of it.
Part of the point of getting married here in church is asking God’s blessing today and into the future.Our service started with the words ‘God is love and those who dwell in love dwell in God, and God dwells in them’ Even in the most difficult times, the struggle, the times you don’t feel you can go on, even in those times God will be there. Whatever you feel, however joyous, or difficult marriage is proving one thing is certain. God is, and will continue to be, your everthere.
You have promised today to be the everthere for each other, those familiar lines ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health’ express that so eloquently.
I pray that in all of those things you will know the presence, the strength, the support and the love of God,
the true, the One for everthere.