Wedding fun ?

Parts of this were pasted on Facebook yesterday, but I’m still reflecting on it today.

Yesterday was one of the most bizarre wedding blessing I’ve ever had: in a colleagues church and led by a smashing Pentecostal Pastor, Barry. As my colleague was away she asked me to supervise and keep an eye on proceedings.

What my colleague didn’t know was that they’d invited almost 400 people into a building which holds 150. We got them all in to the church and hall ensuring aisles and escape routes were kept clear.

The couple concerned had already been married in a civil ceremony elsewhere and this was to be a blessing of the marriage, but coming from the Pentecostal tradition they wanted to treat it like a marriage ceremony without the legalities, so we had a full blown affair of a bride, a groom, bridesmaids, pageboys, best men etc. We had wonderful

coloured hats and creations, magnificent African designs, a white floor carpet with the names of the couple on it, 3 video operators, a choir and a soloist !!!!

Due to start st 12.00 the brides entrance after the 8 bridesmaids,  pageboys and 6 best men began at 12.34

Whooping and hollering whenever anything significant happened such as the entrance of each bridesmaid, the reading from Corinthians and the close of Communion.

The Pastor who led the service, Barry, was a lovely man and took it all in his stride, but the guests didn’t acknowledge in any way the hard graft that the steward and his wife put into meeting their every need and demand; the couple concerned never said thank you or anything and indeed one of the bridesmaids only spoke to me as if I was the bouncer telling me “don’t let any more in through this door !”

Having had that whinge I recognise it was a special occasion for the couple, their family and their friends, but at the end of the day they were just using the Church as a building conveniently situated half way between all the travelling guests (London, Gloucester, Scotland and Guiana).

And to top it all the £12.50 I’d put in the collection plate to encourage the guests was increased (out of 400 people) by the magnificent sum of £15 making £27.50 ……… and when we turned round even that had been nicked !!!!! (That may not have been the wedding guests but maybe an opportunist from the street.)

All in all one for the memoirs.

Reflection

So what am I to take from it all ? None of these folk will ever come back to that Church, and as the couple (and presumably others) already belong to the Christian faith in their various areas, then it could be argued that there was no benefit to the local Chapel whatsoever; that would be true but Scripture reminds us that we don’t do things for our benefit but for His glory. I truly believe that God was glorified in the noise, chaos, and the nature of the worship; these were people who wanted to come before God in His house and give their marriage to Him.

Secondly, we modelled true Christian hospitality and generosity to ‘strangers’ as the Bible urges us to do.

Maybe God is teaching us all a lesson in this, firstly to glorify Him and secondly to honour His people that He created by showing graciousness and hospitality.

YMCA sleep out

Further to my last blog ( a few minutes ago) one of the small ways in which I try to help others is through the annual YMCA sleep out; some years I simply pay a sum myself and other years I seek sponsorship. This year will be my 7th sleep out and I’m on the search for sponsorship at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MikeRedshaw

I understand that folk can’t give to every charity that makes an appeal and so I’m not offended if you read this and don’t give, but please pray for me as I sleep this year neither in the graveyard nor on the concourse at Pirelli but as part of the YMCA village, with my pop-up tent outside the main stand.

The photographs are of previous years: What will this years look like ?

Make my night even more comfortable (!) by helping out and/or praying.

 

Thankyou

“So what’s the story ……?

Ive just finished re-reading the Connexion magazine from the Methodist Church and have found it to be truly inspiring in many places. Not only are copies delivered to every Methodist Minister,  for Church use, but it can also be found online at https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/12459/the-connexion-magazine-issue-15.pdf

From the article written by our President of Conference, Revd Dr Barbara Glasson to articles on Church planting, our Methodist heritage, racial justice and much more, I have found this edition to be one of the best that the Methodist Church has produced and Im so thankful for it. I would encourage readers of this blog to pick up a copy from Church or look at it online. I’m thinking seriously about using it for a study group in either Trent and Dove or South Derbyshire Circuits (or both together !)

I’m particularly encouraged by the article from Barbara Glasson entitled “Embodying God’s grace” and the way she reminds us that ‘doing small practical things graciously is at the heart of who we are as Methodists”

I’m particularly reminded of the time when Alison was expecting our first child; because of high blood pressure she was frequently in hospital. The lady who took me ‘on note’ as a young Local Preacher (she knows who she is) took it on herself to frequently land at my back door with a casserole or a simple meal, so that when I returned home from work I didn’t have to cook and therefore could get to the hospital to visit Alison. For me that was a life-saver. As she reads this I hope she grasps something of my enormous gratitude for her generosity, even though she probably didn’t think she was doing much at the time. She gave me more than just a love of preaching, she shared with me the generosity and Grace of Christ.

Sometimes we think we can’t do much to improve the world; we feel helpless in the face of natural disasters, racial hatred, discrimination, , illness and so on but there is so much that we can do I our own area. I once heard a story of a man walking along a beach in which hundreds of starfish had been washed ashore. As he looked at the number of dying creatures in the baking hot sun, he saw a small boy throwing one back into the water. ‘What are you doing ?” he said, “you can’t possibly throw them all back. it’ll make no difference” The boy pointed at the sea and simply replied “Its made a difference to that one !”

Within Methodism we have been challenged to have a year of testimony and I want to begin by asking “what’s our story …..?” Is it a story of conversion, of opportunity, of helping someone, of making a difference ? We all have a story to tell, whether it be a small generous gift like the one I received or the opportunity to work overseas for charity. It may be a story of how we received a call to preach or to the Ministry, or it may be a story of starting a new venture amongst the homeless, but whatever it is I ask you to “tell that story of what God has challenged you to” and allow others to hear and be challenged as well.

 

p.s. Three times over the last couple of weeks I’ve been asked to put my story (ies) into a book. I don’t think it will be of interest and I also think that just about every Minister in the land has stories to tell so why should I be any different ? However, I’m praying it through to see if God is challenging me towards my next sabbatical.