Janet`s August 2018 letter to the Community

On the 22nd June we had the first wedding at St Paul’s since 2010.  It was an occasion of great joy and we wish Leanne and Matthew every happiness in their married life together.  Just two weeks’ later I attended the wedding of one of my godsons in Devon.  Again an occasion of great joy.  It’s made me think quite a lot about the promises a couple make as part of this solemn commitment, which is, as the service says, not to be entered into “lightly or selfishly, but reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God”.  I am confident that the couples whose marriages I have just witnessed have taken their vows in just that light. 

One of the readings that is often used at weddings, and that was chosen by Matthew and Leanne, was St Paul’s beautiful hymn to love in chapter 13 of his first letter to the Corinthian church.  It includes the words: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.”

Those words are beautiful – but they are also demanding.  Is our love like that?  Because we need to remember that, although this passage is often used at weddings, and it is clearly appropriate that it is used at weddings, St Paul was not principally talking about married love.  He was talking to the Christian community about how they should relate to each other and to those around them.  In chapter 12, he is making clear to his readers the importance of recognising that every single person has gifts to bring and a valuable role to play within the community.  In chapter 14, he is talking about the need for Christian worship to build up and encourage all who are present.  It follows, therefore, that chapter 13 is also about community relationships, and not just intimate family relationships.


Do we demonstrate love in a way that shows patience, kindness, humility, unselfishness, courtesy and forgiveness?  Last month I suggested that we could follow St Barnabas’ example and work on encouraging those around us.  This month – let’s work on love – and remember, “love never ends” (1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 8).

With every blessing,


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