The Parish Magazine June 2023

Serving the communities of Charvil, Sonning, and Sonning Eye since 1869

Serving the communities of Charvil, Sonning, and Sonning Eye since 1869


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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Parish</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> - <strong>June</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 5<br />

<strong>The</strong> vicar's letter<br />

Dear friends,<br />

<strong>June</strong> is often the most popular month for marriages, indeed, Caroline<br />

and I will have been married for 20 years on the 14 <strong>June</strong> and perhaps,<br />

partly because of this, I have been reflecting of late on the importance of<br />

marriage.<br />

It is clear to me that God takes marriage seriously and that's why<br />

'Thou shall not commit adultery . . .' is included right along with 'Thou shalt<br />

not kill . . .' and 'Thou shalt not steal . . .' in the Ten Commandments. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

were many things that Jesus was quite liberal on for the day in which<br />

he lived. <strong>The</strong>re were others about which he was quite conservative. Here<br />

he is downright reactionary. 'What God has joined together, let no man put<br />

asunder' (Matthew 19:4-6). Does that mean that Jesus would have nothing<br />

to do with divorced persons? Not in the least. We can read about his<br />

encounter with the woman at the well who had lived with several men,<br />

or the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. No one was<br />

more compassionate than Jesus. Jesus knew about human weakness and<br />

frailty and he met no one he could not forgive. That said, no relationship<br />

strikes more at the centre of what it means to be human than does<br />

marriage. <strong>The</strong> end of a marriage can be devastating and the effects on<br />

children are well known and well documented. Of course, each situation<br />

is different, and we respect that, but the breakup of a family is serious<br />

business, because God takes marriage seriously.<br />

Of course, no marriage is truly made in heaven. Good marriages are made through a lot of give-and-take<br />

here on earth. I am reminded of the woman who accompanied her husband to the doctor for his physical. <strong>The</strong><br />

doctor asked her for a private conversation before they left the office. 'Your husband is under great stress and<br />

you must devote your life to sheltering him. Don't argue or disagree with him. Get up early each morning and<br />

make his favourite breakfast. Spend the morning cleaning the house but have a nice lunch ready at midday if<br />

he happens to come home. <strong>The</strong> afternoon you can spend on outside work, but make sure there's a special dinner<br />

waiting for him when he returns. <strong>The</strong> evening hours may be spent watching the TV with him, followed by<br />

romance should he be interested. This must be your schedule to help him through this.' <strong>The</strong> wife left the office,<br />

picked up her husband, and drove him home. 'Well,' asked the husband, 'what did the doctor say?' 'He said that<br />

you're going to die!' All I am saying is that there are no perfect marriages!<br />

Very sadly more than half of marriages today do not last. Why is that? Maybe we haven't helped our young<br />

people understand that marriage takes work. It is not an easy task for two independent, strong-minded<br />

persons to become one flesh. Here are two people from differing home environments, differing expectations<br />

from life, differing dreams for the future. Men and women are different. Family backgrounds are different and<br />

people have different pictures in their minds of what an ideal marriage should be. We are all sinners and we all<br />

have flaws that need to be forgiven from time to time.<br />

This brings me to the last thing I would say about Christian marriage; that by the grace of God, good<br />

marriages are possible. God's plan is beautiful and most fulfilling, and no one will ever improve on it. One<br />

man and one woman becoming one flesh until death do they part. Not everyone will realise that kind of ideal<br />

arrangement in his or her life, but it remains, for most people, the ideal.<br />

God takes marriage seriously. <strong>The</strong>re are no perfect marriages but there can be good marriages. Those good<br />

marriages occur when two people commit themselves to God and to one another . . . to become one flesh until<br />

death do they part. It is not an easy task, but with God's help and serious commitment, it can be done.<br />

Warm wishes.<br />

Jamie<br />




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