Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wedding Fever

I love a good wedding.

Recently it seems that as a nation we have had our fascination for something old, borrowed and blue spiked by the Bafta-nominated Channel 4 series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Millions have tuned in to see the outrageous lengths to which some teen girls in the travelling community go to when it comes to glitzy dresses and 10-tiered wedding cakes. Poor old Dad gets to foot the bill – bless him.

And the fun ain’t over yet, because bad weather forecast aside, this Friday’s Big Fat Royal Wedding (catch My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding tonight on Channel 4) promises to top the charts. Grateful for the distraction from depressing headlines, theNew York Times exclaimed that: "Months of excited gossip over a possible royal wedding will now be replaced by months of excited gossip over wedding preparations...and general overuse of the description ’fairy tale’."

o Friday is going be good, but Saturday is coming and with it the great post-romance come down. The ‘fairy tale’ will be over and we will be left picking up the pieces, taking down the bunting and wondering where to store the complete set of Will & Kate crockery. But no matter what side of the M25 (or Atlantic ) you hail from, the hunger for stories of enduring love lies deep in us all. Can you remember a time when your interest in love was spiked, your hunger awakened, your pulse quickened? Love is powerful – and it is awe-inspiring.

Artists and wise sages constantly invite us to let love inspire, and strengthen us.

In the film The Village a brave blind girl decides to leave her community, trapped by fear to venture into the unknown, to get help for her dying fiance.  As Edward Walker says in the 2004 film: “She is led by love. The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.”

Love pursues, perseveres, pours itself out and doesn’t count the cost. Jesus told us that the evidence of our belonging to him would be seen in our love. Paul places love above all else as the sign of Christian maturity. Why? Because “love is properly the image of God in the soul; for God is love,” as Adam Clarke reflects in his commentary on Corinthians. Because love of God and love our neighbour transforms us and our world.

I recently met a couple who love like this. On hearing about a man with severe disabilities in their community who needed a home, they invited him to move in with them; to belong, become part of their family, their shared story, their shared lives. That was 30 years ago and he’s still with them. This is the true price of love: choosing to love without looking for anything in return, choosing to continue giving so that love will grow. This way of life produces the kind of rewards no money can buy.

A good wedding can happen on a shoe-string or a fortune, but a good marriage requires a totally different kind of wealth. It is built on the richness of faithfulness, perseverance and boundless generosity. All skills forged in the fires of practice! Fidelity isn’t simply about not committing adultery, but about fulfilling the marriage vows, day by day by day. Having just come through Easter, we have been reminded that the commitment of Christ to us his bride, is second to none. Whether married or not, this is our model for how we are to love.

So as you join me in raising your glass to Will and Kate, take a look at the people you are committed to loving in your home, work and community. Renew your vow to God to love them with the kind of reckless, courageous, selfless, inspiring love that will see them flourish.

Now, where did I put my flashing tiara?

Article by Rachel Gardner, Director Romance Academy
Evangelical Alliance

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