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Column: Simple truth of weddings

The Ven Michael Everitt, Archdeacon of Lancaster
The Ven Michael Everitt, Archdeacon of Lancaster
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One of the cheesy lines I come out with during a wedding rehearsal is: ‘I’ve only married one person’.

I time it for maximum impact and watch with delight as the parents begin to try and work out how to ask for someone with experience.

Just as they begin to splutter their request, I then say: ‘…but I have officiated at hundreds of weddings’.

This is to make the point to the couple that they are not pledging their love to me, or even to the family or congregation, but to each other. Thus, I have only married the one person, my wife.

This weekend a wedding will take place in a chapel somewhere in Berkshire.

The world’s media will focus their lenses on it and people around the globe will join in the celebration.

Fundamentally, however, no matter what size of audience there might be; or the grandeur of the guest list; or the status of the officiating minister; Harry and Megan are like any other couple marrying each other.

The vows that they will take are ones of total commitment to the other. Unlike the majority of us, this will be lived out in the media spotlight - and that adds pressures that Harry knows at first hand can be destructive.

Whenever I take a wedding, I remind a couple that their marriage is an ‘icon’ of God.

St John gives us the definition, ‘God is Love’ and therefore wherever Love is seen then God is seen.

Writing in the Bible, St Paul in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 says: “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, does not boast, is not proud.”

I get the couple to replace ‘love’ with their own names, and anything that jars when spoken is an area that needs working on.

To use the picture language of an icon, these are the bits that need a little restoration work.

As with all couples, whether in the public eye or not, I will pray for Harry and Meghan that their marriage might show to them and others the intimate and wonderful nature of God, who is love.