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Weddings, Wine and Water!

Pupil Imogen Receives LLLL Book at Sutton upon Derwent School Assembly

Sunday 20th January 2013

The Archbishop's Sun Column today is about weddings, Love Life Live Lent and Yorkshire's Historic Fairtrade Success. His column follows in full...

Trailers for Celebrity Wedding Planner have been on TV lately – just one of dozens of similar programmes about arranging weddings, comparing venues, ordering food and drink, worrying about things going wrong, wanting the best.  With a whole wedding channel on television, not to mention over 50 magazines and countless websites urging couples to plan their weddings down to the very last shiny table sprinkle, it is not surprising that the wedding industry is worth over £10bn in the UK alone.

Of course weddings can be a very wonderful and memorable day, marking the beginning of a new kind of relationship for couples. In Biblical times, things were probably a little simpler, but the wedding celebration was still a major event in the life of a family and community. Then, as now, the honour of the hosts would be reflected in the good organisation of the marriage festivities which could last for several days. 

Our Bible reading today from John Chapter 2, tells of a wedding feast to which Jesus, his mother and some of his friends had been invited.  Maybe they were relatives, or friends of the family.  His mother certainly seems to have been closely involved in some way, because when the wine runs out - causing great embarrassment to the host - she is immediately involved in doing something about it.  What can she do but turn to her son, Jesus. She clearly has no doubt that he can sort things out. Jesus tells the stewards to fill the great empty casks with water and then to pour it out for guests. That takes some nerve from the stewards. If they start serving water, they won’t be very popular. But they do as they’re told, and the water is turned into the best wine anyone ever tasted.

We may think we don’t have anything very powerful to offer, but all we have to do is bring the simplest and poorest thing we have to Jesus, and he can transform it into the best.  All we need is trust, and obedience. This may seem difficult. But which is more difficult – trusting in Jesus Christ or turning water into wine?

Try the first, and see what a change he can make.

Love Life Live Lent

We’re almost exactly half way between New Year’s Day and the beginning of Lent. Two times when we make resolutions to live a bit differently and change our habits for the better.

Last Thursday I was at the House of Commons for the launch of ‘Love Life, Live Lent’, a booklet full of simple daily bible reflections and activities to help us think about love and life in the weeks running up to Easter.  Ideas for adults, and also for kids like:

  • Ask someone how they are and take time to listen to the answer
  • Make a list of all the good things in your life, and thank God or them.
  • Think about something you have done wrong and say sorry for it.

The next day, I visited Sutton upon Derwent Primary School. I had been invited by Imogen, a young pupil whom I confirmed last year, to come and share in their assembly.  Pupils and staff shared special memories of Primary Schooldays - from conducting the Hallelujah Chorus to the joys of scoring hat-tricks!  And I had the chance to give Imogen her Love Life Live Lent Kid’s Version book – and to encourage all to Be the Change They Want To See in Lent and beyond! They were all up for it!

How wonderful it would be if this daily discipline of love and kindness changed not only our own life but the lives of those around us.  Let us all be the change we want to see.

Yorkshire's Historic Fairtrade Success

Yorkshire Fairtrade CertificateDid you know that last Friday Yorkshire was named as the first Fairtrade Region in the UK?  Yorkshire folk are practical and straight speaking. I love that. When something isn’t right they will stand up and tell you so! That’s good, because when it comes to the issue of global poverty, we cannot pussy-foot around. When we see injustice we have a moral obligation to stand up and do something.

We need to be sure that our shopping baskets aren’t exploiting the producers who have given their time, effort and expertise into making items for us to enjoy.

When we see the Fairtrade logo, we can be sure that the farmer has been paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work.

As consumers, we have wonderful purchasing power – and we shouldn’t settle for second best. We should all set our sights high and speak with our feet – or, better still, our wallets!

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