Love is in the air
St Andrew’s should have opened its doors to celebrate a marriage yesterday but that wasn’t possible due to the current restrictions. Even supposing that it had been, so many precautions would have been in place to prevent the still current threat of Covid-19 that any couple might have decided to postpone their wedding regardless.
Because so much of what they had planned would have been banned. The presence of family and friends from overseas. Hugging and kissing folk they hadn’t seen for a long time. The photographer, catching the guests’ arriving, saying things like, “could you all stand a bit closer together please.” Everyone sitting together in the front central area of the church, even if they were observing the tradition of “bride’s side” and “groom’s side”. There would have been no playing of a pipe organ, no singing, no gathering around the signing of the register. As for the rings, I would not have been able to ask the best man to lay them on my service book for the blessing.
On the other hand, why not?
Why not go ahead with a wedding on the planned date (always supposing you have been able to obtain your marriage schedule from the Registrar and had booked a bona fide person to marry you)?
Bride + groom + celebrant + two witnesses = the basic ingredients. Lawful, meaningful, memorable. Add in someone with a camera and everyone can enjoy it afterwards (or even at the time if you have the right technology).
I don’t know how many marriage services I’ve conducted. There has certainly been variety in terms of the people involved, the location, the couple’s requests, and the attendance of pets, for instance. A pageboy whose lovely outfit was covered in chocolate thanks to a well-meaning guest trying to distract him. A wee girl who got very upset because her mummy – the bride – shed “happy” tears: in her experience, tears came when bad things happened, not good things. A groom who’d had one too many in the pub up the road beforehand. A bride who asked me to fix her suspender.
I’ve also had weddings with the five or six individuals in the church, as per the basic ingredients, and I can say with all honesty that these occasions were just as joyful as when a large crowd started cheering and stomping as the bride and groom were pronounced wife and husband.
Why? Well, I’d say it was because love was present. Not only the love of these two people for each other, but the love of God for all his people.
“My dear friends, let us love one another, because the source of love is God. Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God, but the unloving know nothing of God, for God is love. This is how he showed his love among us: he sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him. This is what love really is: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. If God thus loved us, my dear friends, we also must love one another.” (1st John 4:7-11)