Frensham Village Churches

Letter from the Vicarage - May 2016

BLESSINGS FROM THE VICARAGE

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

And… we’re off! We had our first marriage for the parish in April and now we are gearing up to conduct one or two marriages each month for a while…

But I’m also getting excited because recently Mark and I have had the wondrous news that both our daughters have become engaged to two really lovely men, whom we like and have come to care for as we have known them for many years. But now they have truly committed themselves to our daughters we are overjoyed. One got engaged at Christmas, the other at Easter – purely coincidental as it depended on when their men could pluck up enough courage to ask - honestly it had nothing to do with me being a priest at all! As yet I don’t know whether just one or both will be marrying next year but, ‘Well done’ is all I keep saying to them!

As with all things, I have prayed and spent time contemplating the impact that this massive change will have on all of our lives. Last month as you know I wrote about change and how it happens – ‘through experiences of love, times of difficulty/suffering or a combination of both.’

And, after 29 years of marriage I know that marriage isn’t only a time of joy – there is always an element of difficulty or suffering in the joining and journeying on many levels (and it’s not to do with the cost of the wedding although some may disagree!). There may be suffering due to nerves about the wedding, worries about expectations in marriage, lack of confidence, anxieties about frailty or failure, or even a fear of what a deeper, committed relationship may mean. But it is also because (as I continued last month) ‘something has to ‘give’ to allow something new to come in…something has to be let go of to make room for the next thing…’ With love there is always sacrifice…

Our girls are the most precious people in the world to us for many reasons, which I need not go into here. So to let go and share them with other people is a big ask… and that isn’t just sharing them with their intended husbands, but their families too. I know the saying ‘you don’t lose a daughter – you gain a son’, and indeed do feel that we are wonderfully receiving the gift of sons that we were never able to have; but in a way like John the Baptist with Jesus, I believe Mark and my relationship with our girls must ‘diminish so that theirs can flourish’ with the men that they have chosen to be their partners for life… Letting go so that something new can grow is the proper and healthy way of life – as it says in Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. As parents letting our girls go (little by little!) will make more ‘space’ in our hearts to love their men and also let the extended family in…

When I thought of Mark giving away his daughters at their weddings (when I was praying about this) I reflected on God ‘giving away’ His Son and John 3:16 came to mind: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Mark will be giving each daughter away that she may have a living, intimately connected and creative relationship that contributes to the life of this world. God gave away His Son that we may know the Living, Intimately Connected, Creative Relationship which is Eternal Life and also know God’s utter infinite Love and everlasting commitment to all life. God’s sacrifice in Jesus Christ was God’s visual ‘marriage with creation’, so that we could learn that there is actually no separation between us and God, except that separation which we choose to put in place.

God’s wish in this ‘marriage’?

That we learn about the Life and Love which understands and is with us in all suffering; which takes away all fears, accepts all frailties, forgives all failures, enables greater commitment and gives us confidence to live together more fully. This is also God’s wish in Holy Matrimony, which surely brings great hope for a lifelong experience of joy even when there are times of difficulty or suffering. In the Marriage preface it says ‘Marriage is a gift of God in creation, through which husband and wife may know the grace of God.’ The grace of God is Life and Love and we have the privilege of living within it. Life is a gift, marriage is a gift, love is a gift…

With love there is always sacrifice…

John the Baptist – ‘I must diminish so Jesus can flourish’…

Letting go so that something new can grow…

As every parent knows, this is hard but can also be beneficial, but none know it more than God…

I wonder - what ‘benefits’ has God received thus far…?

With love and prayers,

Jane