Last weekend I attended a wedding party on Saturday and a memorial service on Sunday. I thought they would be very different occasions but both proved, above all, to be joyful. What they shared in common was the celebration of love and goodness – in the lives of ‘P and C’, newly married, and Ron, recently departed. A very large number of guests at both events bore witness to this.

Who am I to judge the presence of love and goodness in others? Some of my judgement is based on the quality of relationships and friendships formed and the causes (including faith) which get embraced and pursued. Sometimes love is palpable, simply “in the air”, and there it was on Saturday and Sunday. I’m not trying to sound romantic, nor is it wishful thinking. Although dead, Ron’s love is still there, his gift to us. “Love never ends”. Somewhere in this is a theological concept of truth which also says that the Risen Christ’s love for us continues beyond death, his gift to us.

Weddings and funerals often share a reading in common. From the still popular 1 Cor.13 (Saint Paul at his best!) we hear, “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous, conceited or proud…; love rejoices in the truth. Love never gives up. Its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal.”

Love and goodness. Who am to judge others? But I am happy to agree with the saint who said, “At the end we will be judged by
the love in our lives.”

Revd Colin Midlane