Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Wedding of Alec and Patsy

4 July 1976
Theme: Sacraments, Family and marriage   Place: London Parish   Period: 1976-1980   Genre: Sermon

St. Hermas tells us that in a vision he saw a woman of rare beauty, the flower of virginity on her face, purity shining, beauty revealed and this woman had white hair and St. Hermas asked her how it was that so young she had this hair of an old woman. And the woman answered, ‘I am the Church, eternally young in God, and white haired because I have acquired wisdom, divine wisdom’. This Church, eternally young and divinely wise, teaches us something very important about our life in this service of marriage. On one hand we proclaim it to be the kingdom of God, the kingdom which is to come, already present within us and in our midst, the kingdom of triumphant love, the kingdom of light. And indeed, in an old manuscript of the Gospel we read that one day Christ was asked, ‘when shall the kingdom of God come?’ and He answered, ‘the kingdom has already come when two are no longer two, but one’. And so, incipiently, but with power, the kingdom has already come for Alec and Patsy. But this kingdom is only beginning to reveal itself in them. The seed of love, of eternal and divine love has been put into their hearts, God has revealed them to each other in the beauty and significance of the transfigured creature in eternity. But this kingdom is only a beginning, and the way is not simple. We have seen them walk three times in procession and the centre of this procession was the book of the Gospels which represents not only the word of God, but God the Word incarnate, present in our midst. He is at the centre of life, the only centre round which life can revolve in a harmonious motion. But they were following; they were held by the hand, with their hands joined, held by the stole which the priest wears, which represents the grace of God poured upon His priests and through them reaching all those who will extend their hands to receive it. And they followed the priest holding a crucifix. The whole way of a Christian is in following Christ. This way is the way of Christ, there can be no other way for a Christian and the cross tells us that in a world which still rejects God, still remains alien to Him, that in this world they will walk, perhaps in a lonely way, hand in hand, following their master. But it also teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ, the living God who has become man, has trodden all human ways, and has experienced all human life and can be contacted and knows about it and can tell us, ‘fear not, I have overcome the world’. And so they can walk throughout life following their master, because their master has already won His and their victory. They are called to walk as they did here, holding candles and being in this world light and warmth and the revelation of love and the victory of oneness. May God give you courage to be true, to the Lord who has revealed you to each other, has united you, the Lord who has walked all the way of human life for you to be saved. He was present here as He was present at Cana of Galilee; all that is humanly your gift to each other has now been blessed and hallowed to become the gift of God. May the Lord walk with you throughout life as He walked with His disciples from Jerusalem to Emmaus, revealed Himself as victory unto life and sent them to be witnesses, to proclaim that love has conquered, that darkness has no power over light and that love is the last word as a fulfillment of life. Amen.

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