Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman

Royal Wedding

I am writing this on the morning of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just after I have seen a young couple who are getting married at Emmanuel in September. All this wedding talk brought to my mind the number of times the marriage motive and wedding themes are mentioned in the Bible.

For example, John, the writer of the Book of Revelation, visualises the Church as the Bride of Christ (the Lamb).

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory.  For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean was given her to wear.” (Rev 19:7-8)

Here John explains that the fine linen stands for the righteousness of the saints (meaning the Church). God has redeemed his creation and clothed it in purity. John then affirms –

“Blessed are those invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9)

Likewise in the Old Testament Isaiah sees God’s salvation as a wedding banquet not just for a redeemed Israel but the banquet all nations will share in when sin, death and suffering are defeated.

“The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all people, the best of meat the finest of wines. He will swallow up death for ever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.” (Isaiah 25:6-8)

Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast and often used wedding images in his parables.

At the last supper Jesus uses the language of Jewish wedding custom to reassure his disciples that he is going to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house and that he will come back to them to take them to himself. This was the way things happened when a bride and groom were betrothed in Jesus’ time.

In the penultimate chapter of Revelation, John sees a vision of “the New Jerusalem” which represents God’s people –

“coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Rev 21:2)

 The overarching message from all this Biblical wedding symbolism is – it is God who, through his grace, has created and redeemed his people for himself, for a relationship of love and intimacy with him, for which human marriage is the best but still inadequate analogy.

Shalom,

Bill

For evil to triumph…

I am writing this a few days after the UK together with our allies in the US and France have launched airstrikes against the chemical warfare installations in Syria. Regardless of our political persuasions all right thinking people can surely only be appalled at the use of such horrendous weapons by the Assad regime against … Continue reading For evil to triumph…

New Life

Easter Sunday this year is on 1st April – quite early in the spring.  Because of our particularly cold winter, the daffodils are a bit late in blooming in our gardens but they are coming out now just in time for Easter.  These spring flowers are natural and beautiful symbols of the new life which … Continue reading New Life

Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

Although Easter is not until 1st April, the month of March contains two very important Sundays in the Lenten Season – Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. At first, apart from both being Sundays there doesn’t seem much connection between these two dates in the Church’s year. But there is a connection and the connection is … Continue reading Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

“Thank You” letters

By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will be just getting underway. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters. Mainly to several kind elderly aunties who had sent me Christmas … Continue reading “Thank You” letters

Bah!! Humbug!!

“Bah!! Humbug!!” These words we associate with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol”.  This expression and calling someone a “bit of a Scrooge” are commonly used idioms to describe people who don’t enter into the Christmas celebrations with much enthusiasm. Odd as it may seem, in days gone … Continue reading Bah!! Humbug!!

Truth

It is 100 years ago this year that the United States entered the First World War on the Allied side. It was a US Senator, Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) of California who in 1917 observed “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Ironically Johnson died on 6th August 1945 the day the Allies dropped the … Continue reading Truth

Sukkot

We celebrated harvest at Emmanuel a little earlier than usual this year and I am grateful to everyone for their part in making it such a joyful celebration. In early October in the Jewish community another harvest festival called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew, takes place. This is a week-long festival whose … Continue reading Sukkot

New Year?

September is the month of beginning again. Schools return, university terms start as do all the host of church and secular activities that take a summer break. September to me always seems a more sensible time to celebrate New Year than 1st January which was the date the Romans chose and we have followed on … Continue reading New Year?

The King’s Cave

During our recent holiday on the beautiful Isle of Arran among the places of interest Marion and I visited was what is known as, “The King’s Cave.” This is a cave where it is said in the year 1306, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, fleeing from the wrath of England’s King Edward the first, had” … Continue reading The King’s Cave

Politics?

As I write the General Election is over by less than a week and the Prime Minister is in the process of putting together an agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to secure a parliamentary majority going forward. Needless to say the two sides don’t agree on everything and a compromise will have to … Continue reading Politics?