Tuesday 20 November 2007

60 years on

The Queen’s and Price Philip’s diamond wedding anniversary — Lucy reminded me at morning prayer. I don’t know if HM has sent herself a telegram, but it’s significant that after the official celebrations yesterday the happy couple are spending today together privately.
Having a monarchy of a thousand years (today is St Edmund’s day) provid
es public milestones as well as a daily soap for the Sun. Pretty much like the Old Testament, we still set at the iconic heart of our national life a human being, not an idea, or a piece of paper, or the force of the gun. It’s bedrock for a civilised, stable and progressive society. In spite of all the bitterness and cynicism in the world, what we celebrate today is pretty simple. All relationships have their wraths and sorrows, and some are pretty awful. However, some couples (I believe, statistically, most couples) do make it! Why should our eye be evil, because some, sadly don’t (“Honi soit qui mal y pense). Various events are bringing together others in Britain celebrating their diamond weddings this year, we should all, surely, congratulate them all and wish them all good that can be. As usual, Rowan caught the essence of the matter yesterday:
Every marriage is an act of faith. When you think about it, the promise to be in the company of the same person for a lifetime is an extraordinary thing to undertake; it is a statement of trust in one another and in the future which can never be free of risk. Another person, however well I think I know him or her, however confident I am about the mutual attraction between us, is still going to be deeply mysterious, beyond my control. Giving away my life to them is quite a step...
Before we complain too loudly about a world of disposable relationships and short-term policies, a world of fracturing and insecure international bonds and the decline of trust, we should remember today that we have cause for thanksgiving – thanksgiving that God has made human beings capable, against all the odds, of reflecting his own completely costly and self-giving commitment to his world; that the gift of marriage makes this capacity visible in our world; and that, in the lives of the couple with whom today we join in celebration, that bracing, renewing and hopeful vision of faithful generosity has been for sixty years set so clearly before our eyes

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