‘Amazing Grace’ seemed a strange old-fashioned opening hymn for my son Tim’s recent wedding, especially after the beautiful Esme had floated in on her father, Al’s, arm to the melody from The Gladiator with its reminder of the dodgy ‘hereafter’ hinted at there, with its mystical fields and promise of uncomplicated bliss.
Trusted old ‘Amazing Grace’ seemed quite a sudden gear change.
Maybe it was a wise choice. It’s so well-known even to non-churchgoers and would help everybody feel included from the outset.
We began to sing. Within seconds I was in trouble. I was fighting back the tears. ‘I once was lost, but now I am found …’ I stood in the front row looking past Wendy along the line with three sons; Tim, the groom, Ben and Simon, his two best men, the stunning bride and Joel, our other son, facing them about to conduct the wedding.
Just behind, recently flown in from Cape Town, was our daughter Anna, with our daughters-in-law, Rachel and Kate, caring for the next generation, eight grandchildren!
As we sang, I couldn’t get past ‘I once was lost …’ I stood there suddenly reflecting on my earlier life, aimless, having no idea what life was all about, hanging out at pubs and snooker halls or going to parties and jazz clubs, often drunk, not knowing that there was a gospel or any kind of purpose to life.
I have no idea where I would have finished up. I can’t imagine the life I would have lived. I cannot believe that I would ever have been loyal to one woman or found a job which brought any satisfaction. How would you raise a family when you have no map or compass? I once was blind!
During the service Joel took time to spell out Paul’s heaven-sent insights into the mystery of marriage from Ephesians 5.
Talk about amazing grace! I’ll never get over it or stop thanking God for His staggering kindness and mercy in rescuing me and then showing such patience, forbearance and steadfast love through the years and now the decades.
Forgive the personal preoccupation. Maybe not really the stuff of blogs – but I am a comparative novice so have mercy on me. I won’t do it again – maybe not until the next family wedding (Simon and Caroline’s now planned for December)!
Thought you might like to see a few photos of us in our wedding gear. Clean up quite well don’t we? Tim and Esme are already great at being uncle and aunty and their nephews and nieces love being with them.
As husband and wife they were happy to start their married life already celebrating God’s amazing grace to them.
While I am on the wedding theme, let me recommend marriage to you. Some of you young guys and girls, don’t be scared of commitment. Don’t be shaped by the modern drift. I know that statistics tell us that marriage is going out of fashion, but break with fashion! Ask God to help you find a partner and then ask Him to help you be loyal, faithful and fruitful to the praise of His glorious grace.
This hymn speaks of many dangers, toils and snares. I know I have already come through many and only God knows how many are around the next corner, but grace has brought us this far and will bring us home.
(Hope you are finding the Bible studies helpful on this Grace theme and some of the downloaded preaching.)