…in the making

Yesterday I had the enormous privilege of speaking at the diamond wedding celebration of two very dear friends. I was asked to provide an ‘epilogue’ between dessert and coffee, having previously spoken at their ruby and golden celebrations. As often on such occasions, the preacher is torn between brevity and depth, novelty and dignity. In the end, despite the specific instructions to all guests not to bring gifts of any kind, I enlisted the help of a local jeweller and presented them with the diamond below.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that it is, in fact, a small lump of coal. However, as I explained – that could change. Heated up to three times the heat the hottest domestic oven, subjected to twenty times the pressure of an average car tyre and left that way for a couple of billion years – it could turn into a diamond. Beautiful things – like diamonds, stalactites, and great sweeping oak trees – take time and testing to grow. ‘Beloved’ writes the apostle John, ‘let us love one another, for love comes from God’.  Love, inspired by the God of the ages, is a diamond which takes many years, and many tribulations, to grow.

In conclusion I stole a phrase from a wedding sermon preached by John Chrysostom nearly sixteen centuries ago – ‘marriage is like a little church’ . I have always taken this to mean not that it is plagued by rotas and full of ambiguity – but rather that it is a small kingdom where Christ rules. Sixty years on, I think my friends have proved that it can be so.

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