Amazing Grace

My sister got married this weekend and it was really a special day for our family and for her new husband’s too. There were two moments that I loved in the ceremony apart from the obvious bits of my sister looking lovely… first one was when the vicar said “snogging” which has to be a first in our local church, and the second was a song being played by Nick Cave whilst they signed the register.. which made me cry…

I don’t believe in an interventionist God

But I know, darling, that you do

But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him

Not to intervene when it came to you

Not to touch a hair on your head

To leave you as you are

And if He felt He had to direct you

Then direct you into my arms

Afterwards we went back to my family’s home for the party and it was very wet! My sister had cleverly purchased some white wellies which looked lovely with her dress, and we had a lovely dinner, and some speeches. The best woman who spoke was my new brother in law’s sister who had come over from Australia especially, it was lovely to hear her perspective and she’d been given alot of material to go on from his friends. He is one of the only grooms I know who have had both a stag and a hen do to keep all his friends happy! 

The other thing that struck me was how unfair it is that she can’t get married to her lovely partner, as it’s currently illegal in Australia for gay and lesbian couples to have any kind of marriage or civil partnership. I know how important this not just for personal but for practical reasons, as my uncle recently lost his long-term partner, and he said it was such a blessing to be able to be recognised as his next of kin in hospital, and to be able to organise the funeral and not have to get into family disputes about his partners’ property. My uncle grew up when it was illegal to be gay, and he is really reluctant to even discuss this part of his life. We have another old family friend who I think is probably very unhappily gay and having a difficult time looking forward to retirement on his own.

I mentioned this to a colleague who is very open about her sexuality and she said, “it’s not that I don’t respect other people’s religious views, it’s just I don’t understand why people don’t think it matters whether or not I get married!? I also don’t know why people don’t want me to know God? Why evangelise to everyone except gay people..!?”

I couldn’t answer this but it made me think of the lovely hymn written by the guy who campaigned to end the slave trade… “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”.. this was also one of the hymns they chose to sing in the ceremony on Saturday. None of us can come to God without his grace, as we are all human and driven by our own issues and concerns, and none of us know his wisdom as much as we’d like to think. We must however surely recognise that he is everyone’s God, not just those who have already come to know him. There is nothing more special than someone getting to know God, and he’s always ready to listen.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:7-10”

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