- Worship & Ministry »
- Reflection »
- Music »
- Visit Us »
- INSPIRE! Appeal » Listen Online
John 2: 1-10
2 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
'You have saved the best wine until now.' The steward's words on tasting the water changed into wine at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.
The best kept till last. That's not a bad slogan for a couple who this week celebrate sixty years of marriage together. Albert and Betty Morgan, who are here today with their family to give thanks for those sixty years with each other.
They actually first met at evening classes in Hackney in 1949, when they were just 18 and 16 years old, and saw each other across the room. When Albert was called up for National Service that seemed to set the seal on a bond of love that was to last up to this day from the day they got married on 29th August 1953, Coronation year.
It is very appropriate that they come to St Bride's to give thanks today, because Albert has always worked in our parish, starting as an editorial copy boy (aged 14) on the Evening Standard in Shoe Lane in 1945, and then joining the Daily Telegraph and becoming, in due course, chief sub-editor.
Betty too spent her working years in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral on St Martin-le-Grand, and they are both members of the Stationers Company, with whom we have strong links.
So we welcome you, Albert and Betty, today and we rejoice with you at your good fortune in finding one another and sharing your lives together. Your celebration is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on those words from St John, 'Lord, you have kept the best until last'. In an age where youth is so feted and prized, that may seem a contrary idea.
Some of you may have read the novels of Mary Wesley, who died at the age of ninety. You may not know that her first commercially successful novel, the Camomile Lawn, was published not when she was in her twenties but when she was 72 years old. Her last book, Part of the Scenery, was published in 2001 when she was 89 years old. She is a clear example of the best kept till last because her career reached its pinnacle when she was in her later years.
I think that is particularly true for Christians: as we journey through life growing towards God, perhaps God's plan is for our lives to fully blossom in our later years. We can't all become authors at the age of seventy, but we can allow the gifts God has given us over the years to be seen and used in all their glory. It's never too late.
I remember when I preached at the Stationers Richard Johnson service some years ago, I spoke about the somewhat gloomy theme of the service 'Life is a bubble' - which in effect is saying 'life is fleeting; everything fades; all is vanity; good things don't last so prepare to meet thy maker.' Which is a fairly gloomy theme, you'll agree. But, I said 'That is not the whole story.' The unexpected can happen: something, some opportunity, or some person can come out of the blue and transform your world, and can make all the difference to your life. You can see a stranger across a crowded room - and the course of your life is turned upside down.
Cue for a song! Some Enchanted Evening.
Albert and Betty asked for that song from the musical South Pacific, because it's romantic and nostalgic, and reminds them of that evening class in Hackney in 1949 when they first met.
'And somehow you know, you know even then,
That somewhere you'll see her, again and again.'
And so you did, and here you are, sixty years later, to thank the God of Love and the God of surprises, who brings us together, who sustains us during the seasons of darkness as well as during the seasons of light, and who so often keeps the best until last, or at least until later.
May that be true for each of us, may you find that your life continues to blossom as the years go by, as I invite Albert and Betty to come forward and give thanks for the blessings of sixty years. Amen.