Friday, 3 June 2011

Family Celebrations

On Monday evening family and friends celebrated my mum and dad's 40th wedding anniversary.

It was a great evening with lots of laughter, happy memories and reminiscing, good food and drink and a great time with well over 100 family and friends.  Everyone had a really good night and I could tell that my mum and dad enjoyed the evening, were relaxed and appreciated the love and support many people have for them.
My Beautiful Girls on Monday evening

Tom has recently written about my mum and dad and how their history is etched on their skin. He printed this off and put it on a display board for people to read.  Made my mum cry.  And I know my dad found it moving.  There were also photo's of their wedding day, photo's of us kids as we grew up, and other memories that were captured in photo or print.

As well as this celebration, my older brother and his wife wanted a blessing for their 3 children.  So before we all ate,  I led everyone through a service of blessing for the children.  After the blessing I shared a short talk before I then got mum and dad to come to the front and I prayed for them both and then spoke a blessing over them both.  It is times like these that I feel very privileged to do what I do.

Below is my talk.  Before I spoke I was so aware that all the people who were there came from such varied walks of life, holding such diverse beliefs and understandings of life and faith.  Some went to church, but many didn't.
I don't use notes when I speak, so below is roughly what I said on the evening.

'There is a verse in the bible where Jesus says,'I am the bright Morning Star'. 

 Now the Morning Star appears in the sky when the night has reached its darkest point. When it appears you know that the dawn is on its way, that the night is at its darkest and the light is coming. 

 There are times in our lives where we feel that the darkness of pain and suffering, fear and difficulty are surrounding us and closing in all around. This darkness can be self afflicted, given by us or given to us, but whatever the reason, it's tough. We can look at the world around us and wonder if the darkness has overcome.
Yet Jesus speaks into this darkness by declaring that He is the bright Morning Star and that the Dawn is on its way. 

 As we celebrate here together, we reflect and remember lives lived together as well as look hopefully and expectedly on lives to be lived.

Mum and Dad are celebrating 40 years of marriage. We look back with them on the journey they have taken together and we join with them in the memories and the joys. 
It is a past that reflects the kaleidoscope of colours that our lives can be. Joy and sorrow, hope and despair, pain and healing. The true beauty of celebration finds itself fully aware and honest of all that has gone on before. Our past has shaped who we are today and we celebrate because we are able to embrace today, because we are still in this together, because God has not left us. 
We celebrate because your story is one of perseverance and endurance, of togetherness today, of love enduring; your story reflects the very nature of God. 
And it is in the reality of the past 40 years that bring meaning and significance to today, as well as hope and joy into tomorrow. For the journey continues with a path laid out for them and for us all, a path that calls us to embrace yesterday, to make today significant and live with hope for tomorrow. 

 We join with Bram and Tracy in celebrating with them the gift of children. Parenthood is a deep responsibility given to us by God. It is a calling to be faithful, hopeful and full of love for our children that they may be given the best start to their lives.

As we look at these young lives we are excited by the possibilities and mystery that lay before them. 

When we consider that Paige is just 13 years old we reflect that 13 years is a mere heartbeat in all of human history. But our prayer is that her heart would be filled with love from others and for others so that in your life you may bring love to the people you meet. 

5 years is but a blink of an eye in the course of humanity, but our prayer is that Cameron may see the world with wisdom and compassion and bring tears of joy to the people he meets and the communities he is a part of. 

8 months is but a whisper in the history of the human race, but our prayer is that Nate will speak words of life and love enabling others to shout for joy and sing in celebration as he lives and grows in this world. 

 Our hopes and dreams for Mum and Dad, for Bram, Tracy and the children, for each other, can be held deep in our hearts because Jesus is the bright Morning Star. His life, death and resurrection has ushered in a new day for all of creation and a promise that one day God will wipe every tear from our eyes and where everything will be made new. God will bring in a new creation where light, love and peace will cover the earth. This is the the new dawn that is on its way. We live in this tension where we see darkness and light, yet today has meaning and hope, where there is real love and light shining through.  

 Our past shapes who we are today. Our today is significant and to be embraced. Our every tomorrow can be filled with hope.
The night is darkest just before the dawn, but Jesus declares that the dawn is on its way.'


Tom Haward said...

Twas a wonderful night and you spoke brilliantly. I love how you speak about the dawn coming. We need to hear that.


Joe Haward said...

Thank you mate. It was a really good night. x