Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bishop of London

Dr Richard Chartres
Archbishop of London

What a beautiful address...joyful, hopeful, tender..
for me a highlight of the entire ceremony.

That and "Jerusalem"  simply cannot listen to that hymn without crying!

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."  So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day this is. 
Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many people are fearful for the future of today’s world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

In the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each other.

The spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this: the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. People can dream of such a thing but that hope should not be fulfilled without a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely the power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:
"Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon."
As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive. We need mutual forgiveness in order to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads on to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can receive and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today will do everything in their power to support and uphold you in your new life. I pray that God will bless you in the way of life you have chosen. That way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer.
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen


  1. I loved his words too. Very significant for todays world.

  2. A highlight for me too ~ just beautiful...

  3. Loved the music! The whole event was lovely and I was up at 4 to see the whole thing.

  4. His words brought me to beautiful and poignant, the perfect blessing for William and Catherine. I'm teary again just thinking about it...the whole wedding was just lovely.
    xo J~

  5. They were beautiful words and the music was amazing...sigh.....

  6. We all sang 'Jerusalem' with GUSTO; just as it should be sung. Good to see you both (?).

  7. This address stopped me in my tracks - they were so very meaningful. Unfortunately I'd banished MOTH to the local Pub as his running 'commentary' in the early part of the Service drove me crazy! I was then sorry that he'd gone, as I would have loved him to have heard these words. Now thanks to you, I can print them off & leave them on his pillow tonight for some husbandly 'reflection' - thank you dear J.
    Millie x

  8. J - thank you so much for writing those words down. Hope you don't mind - I'm going to save your blog post in'My Documents' It was a lovely wedding and where, elsewhere in the world there is so much pain and despair - with the world watching - I believe it brought a small measure of hope!

  9. Yes Cro...I do believe we spotted you and Lady Magnon singing Jerusalem at the top of your lungs. Please pass along our compliments on her lovely outfit and you do look dapper in full morning dress!

    I'm so glad these words are being kept...Molly and Millie.
    I read a rather scathingly negative column in one of our national papers today underscoring the notion that the write just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. Perhaps if said writer were to read Chartre's words she would get it. It's about hope, joy, love, celebration!

  10. I'm not a Christian, but I thought that the Archbishop of London's lesson was very beautiful. In fact, the whole thing was beautiful and about as intimate as a royal wedding can get. Thought Harry stole the show though :-)

    The Archbishops were great orators - a skill that many churchmen today lack. And you need that bit of showmanship to keep people entertained on a Sunday, I think :-)

    Although perhaps less people in the UK would go to church or describe themselves as Christians than, say, 50 years ago. I DO think people are still spiritual and seek something Other than themselves.

    Ali xxxxx

  11. Christian or not Alison, Chartres' sentiments are Universal. THAT's the beauty of them!


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