The sacrament of marriage

Hello everyone!  I went up to Ovingham near Newcastle to celebrate my niece’s wedding to Jon, after a courtship of 10 years.  The wedding took place in Ovingham parish church dedicated to St Mary.  Marie looked beautiful and they both looked so happy.  We sang three hymns, ‘Praise, my soul, the King of heaven’, ‘Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might’, and ‘One more step along the world I go’.  Rev. Nicholas Henshall, husband of Marie’s sister Christine married Marie and Jon, and my brother David gave her away.  Christine’s two daughters Ruth, 14 and Lucy 13 were bridesmaids with two of Marie’s friends Kate Foster and Clare Gardiner; they all looked lovely.  Lucy explained how they all wore the same pearl earrings, but she and her sister, the younger bridesmaids had a matching hair band, whereas the older bridesmaids had necklaces to match.  Their dresses were powder blue, and their nail varnish matched the dress colour; they wore ivory sandals and looked so elegant.  Marie wore a beautiful ivory dressed with an embroidered bodice with had an elegant train.  Ben, Lucy’s twin brother was an usher, as were other friends of the groom.  Una Stevens, Jon’s mother, read the first reading from the Song of Songs 2v10-13 & 8v6-7 and Christine Henshall read the second reading from Philippians 4v4-9, a favourite passage of mine; it was one my mother recommended to me to help cheer me up when life got me down as a teenager, so that it will always be special for me.  The marriage ceremony was lovely and reminded me of my wedding to my beloved 8 ½ years ago.  The words that I love in the service are ‘to have and to hold’ as that sums up my beloved’s and my experience.  Whilst the family signed the register in the church, Ovingham children’s choir sang this lovely Gaelic blessing:

 

May the road rise up to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

 

It was sung to the tune composed by Alexander L’Estrange and Joanna Forbes.   Marie entered the church to the Te Deum by Charpentier and Mr and Mrs Stevens left the church to the Organ Voluntary: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel.

 

Nicholas gave an excellent address for the happy couple, where he reminded us of the solemn commitment marriage is; here Marie and Jon were beginning a journey together of working out their relationship through their lives and it would not be easy.  He called us witnesses to their courageous step and asked us to be there now and in the future to offer them support and encouragement in their great adventure together, as they would need us.  Thirdly he talked of the mystery of love and how people are drawn to each other to make such a commitment.  It made me think back to the evening when my beloved first took hold of my hand in reassurance and I felt almost electricity flow through me as I realised the amazing realisation that I had fallen in love!  Marriage to my beloved has not dimmed this love, instead it grows deeper every day and we become more united in our mutual love.  Nicholas talked of love as not 1+1 but 1; that is we become one in marriage.  I can remember my beloved’s best friend Pam commenting on how much closer we had become after our first year of marriage and how much more relaxed we were!  Marriage is a blessing and ours continues to confirm how much we are soul mates!  The marriage of Marie and John reinforced precious memories of my time with my beloved, and I looked forward to sharing more moments together.   

 

 

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