This morning was a glorious spring day, though in true spring-day style it has clouded over since then. Jo and Noah were out at a birthday party, so Susie and I went out for coffee (technically, Susie had Ribena). I really enjoy daddy-and-daughter moments like that, even if at almost 4 Susannah's attention-span didn't allow us to stay very long!
When we got home, there was an envelope waiting for me, marked "On Her Majesty's Service" (which, having grown up with the James Bond franchise, I always and automatically read as "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"). The contents informed me that I am now officially authorised to "solomnise marriages" (that's "do weddings" to most folk), in certain venues. Over the years several couples have got together in communities Jo and I have led, and it's always been a bit sad for me that I couldn't do their weddings. But now I can. Hurrah!
On another track, Ben has some great thoughts - and links to other resources - on Lent, a season I'm learning to appreciate more (having always been more of an Advent person). I love the liturgical calendar; the way it marks out the seasons; the symbolism of days such as Advent, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Ascension Day (more so even than the central festivals of Christmas and Easter and Pentecost). And I believe that the rich symbolism has the potential to re-connect my post-modern generation to the church in a way that modern, minimalistic Christianity never could. On Ash Wednesday, we invited people to receive the mark of the cross in ash on their foreheads - the ash symbolising their mortality, the cross the means of entering into eternal life - before taking bread and wine - symbolising Jesus' body and blood, broken and spilled-out; dead, and resurrected; re-uniting creation with the Creator; re-membering us with God and each other. I love serving communion, but always on this one day choose to ash instead (this year including Ben, and his wife Helen; and my wife, Jo). It is a moment that transcends even the most special of days.