A View From The Vicarage, June 2018

Dear Friends

                                                                           “With This Ring”

“Where each asks of each,  what each most wants to give, and each awakes in each, what else would never be.”

This wrote the poet Edwin Muir, in words quoted by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie in his forward to the programme for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

Regrettably, of course, as we all know in that particular instance Muir’s words proved to be very far from prophetic.  Yet, as I write this the younger son of that tragically ill-fated union prepares to follow his parents down the aisle, only in his case it will be the very slightly less grand aisle of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle rather than St. Paul’s Cathedral, as his parents, or Westminster Abbey as his brother and his grandparents.

Despite the fact that on the eve of the wedding, as I write this, the mood across the Country appears to be lukewarm at the most.  I sometimes think that this attitude among the general population of the UK has far more to do with the saturation coverage provided by the mass media than any groundswell of republicanism.

Despite all the hype or the lack of enthusiasm at the heart of this story is exactly the same as it is for any other couple as they prepare for their own wedding day.  For behind all of the fun, excitement and joy of a wedding are two people committing themselves to live and share with each other for the rest of their lives.   And a wedding conducted in any of our churches is fundamentally the same service which is conducted with rather more magnificence and ceremonial as that for Prince Harry and Meghan Markel among the splendours of Windsor Castle.

It strikes me as incredibly encouraging that at the beating heart of this particular media circus and general ballyhoo  is a couple of young people doing something which so many millions of others have done down the centuries and, of course, still are.  In a society in which everyone from Government downwards seems to be unduly wary of committing themselves to anything:  just consider the prevarications over Brexit – or the doctors who seem almost professionally unwilling to commit themselves to any diagnosis of anything.  How refreshing and reassuring it is to see two young people making a firm commitment to each other;  “for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.”  And as the nation, the Commonwealth and the world rejoiced with that particularly favoured young couple in Windsor may we also rejoice with all of the others who are also “tying the knot” and pray that for all of them the joy of their wedding day will be the prelude to long and happy marriages.

With my love and prayers as always.

Ben