May 19th brings another Royal Wedding. I love weddings and have been especially intrigued by the arrangements put in place by this unusual royal couple. Unusual in that a divorced, mixed-race, non-British "commoner" is joining the Royal Family. I wonder how Queen Victoria would have reacted to this?
However, most people are rightly delighted that a beautiful, glamorous, clever woman, with a track record of helping people across the world, is marrying Prince Harry. How inclusive and stronger does this union make the Royal family?
I was also interested to discover that their invitation policy was to invite people they know personally and specifically excluded most political leaders!
And all this is happening on the day before Whit Sunday.
Many of you will have forgotten this festival since it ceased to be a public holiday many years ago. However, it celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of wind and flames of fire, signifying the birth of the Christian Church.
This also happened on a day of celebration, the Jewish feast of Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover Festival. It was a festival that, like the Royal Wedding, attracted people from overseas to Jerusalem to join the celebrations. After receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were able to speak to everyone in their own language about Jesus, how he had risen from the dead to save everyone from their sins and give them eternal life. No-one was excluded. Unlike the Royal Wedding, everyone was invited, even politicians!
But in some ways, it was like Harry and Megan's invitation, because everyone can get to know Jesus personally and have a special relationship with him. If you do so, the Holy Spirit will come into your life. It may happen like that Pentecost day all those years ago; like a roaring wind and tongues of fire. Or it might be a quieter voice; Elijah's "still small voice of calm" (1Kings19:11-14). But on one thing you can be certain. It will change your life, creating a 'new you' and just like the wind, may make you change direction and send you to places you were not expecting. It can be slightly scary but always rewarding!
I hope that everyone attending the Royal Wedding will have a fabulous time, but for the rest of us, come to church the day after. Jesus' invitation is open to everyone!
Rev'd Vivienne Starkie