Yesterday I attended a day’s training out on be the diocese and The Weddings Project. The purpose of the day was to help us to make sure our weddings were as good for the couple as they possibly good be and that we, as churches, give a clear message that marriage is a good thing and that we want to help those who are considering this big step. The weddings projects has identified some particular good ways where we can help and work with the couple …. but I’m not going to go into them as you can read them on the weddings project website if you want to.
The day started with the video that I have posted above. We were asked to watch the video and chat about why this has been seen by nearly 59 million people and how we would feel, and how our church would feel, if we held a wedding like this. As the video progressed a tear was brought to my eye – just for the sheer joy this couple and their guests were expressing – it was amazing to see.
When we got to the discussion I think a majority of people were enthusiastic but there were a significant number of worried voices – people concerned with how it would make them look, people concerned that if we ‘allowed’ this then people would just be taking the mickey out of the seriousness of the ceremony. These people seemed to be trying to ‘protect’ something … but their concern worried me because I think they were in danger of falling into the trap of thinking that our ministry is all about us. It’s easy to think we have control and this, I think, is one of the reasons why church weddings are in decline.
As church, as Christians, we need to realise we are called to serve, to make a difference, to welcome. We are not called to maintain a status quo, we are called to exist for the benefit of others.
The Archbishop of York reminded us in his amazing poignant way yesterday via a video clip that we do not own the church:
‘We are guests, not hosts. As guests we bring gifts – our building, our faith, our truth. Christ is the host and we are invited a long’
We are all guests in Christ’s church. Christ loves it when we come and Christ loves it when others come. As guests we are asked to invite other guests …. but we can’t tell them how they should come, or how they should behave, or what they should do ….. we are not hosts …. we are guests. The host is Jesus and, as we now, Jesus is accepting of everyone … no matter how they look, sound, behave or what they believe.
During this Advent time of waiting I have been thinking, with little success, of some aspect of my faith to contemplate futher. I wonder whether I have had little success and have had to start late, or wait, this Advent because yesterday God shared with me something I need to re-learn, remember and re-contemplate ….
I am a guest in Christ’s church, not a host.