Community Wedding

I'm part of a blogging challenge trio with the awesome Dan Crouch and Chris Kidd but I must start this blog by admitting that last week I failed to keep up with the challenge to blog one original article. The reason for this was simply a rammed week full of beautiful things so here is the most beautiful: 

On 20th September 2009 I introduced two people to each other. Jenny was a deacon at the church I had been a youth worker in and Wes had appeared fresh from the big city as a gap year student at the youth project I was working with. By the Youthwork Conference of that year they had officially become a couple and on the first night of the conference surrounded by us their friends they had their first prayer together as a couple and a cheeky kiss.  

As a community we have all watched on during their relationship as it has taken its journey. We have laughed together, cried together and danced together. 5 years is a long time for a Christian couple to wait to get married but it has been refreshing to see a couple take their intention to commit to each other for the rest of the lives seriously. This couple know each other but not only do they know each other, they have got to know each other within a bigger sense of community. They haven't kept their relationship separate from us but rather have grown and developed with lots of us very present and involved even from that first kiss.

Wes completed his gap year and decided to stay in Bournemouth. Feeling the call to youth work he enrolled at Bristol CYM and has been placed with both the Salvation Army and FYT. This guy is a natural born youth worker, he is a ray of light on a dark day, a gifted rapper, dancer and all round ace human being. Jenny has grown and developed her sense of identity, she is passionate about justice, asks big questions and does not give up. Jenny is one of the constant supporters for what we are trying to do with StreetSpace Bournemouth and I am proud to have her on the committee steering and guiding us in all we do. 

It was a pure joy to be involved in their wedding. A wedding that like their relationship was very community focussed. Different members of both their support networks came together to make their day very unique and very them, centred on Jesus and steeped in relationship. From the worship band, to the cake and everything in-between this couple sought to include and embrace those that love them. 

They have modelled to us all something beautiful:  

Ephesians 4: 1 - 13 says 'As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.he took many captive and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high, (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]?10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Here they are coming out of the church as Mr & Mrs both wearing their favourite colours! 

They have challenged me on what it looks like to model a healthy relationship steeped in relationships with others and have made me contemplate my part in supporting others as they seek to honour each other in marriage. It takes a community to support a marriage, life has its highs and lows and we all have our part to play at supporting each other as the body of Christ.