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I know nothing about girls, by which I mean to say that I have no daughters, but my friend and work colleague Colin had a daughter and he doted on her in the traditionally fatherly fashion. Colin, who lived in the best part of Tunbridge Wells, was prosperous, conventional and generally good humoured. One Monday morning he arrived at the office distinctly out of sorts; all was not well. On enquiry, it seemed that his daughterís new boyfriend had come to Sunday lunch. This all took place back in the nineties when Punk was at its height. Colin, to say the least, was alarmed at the green haired young man, replete with facial piercings and matching clothes, who sat down to their roast beef and Yorkshire pudding that afternoon and was thus preoccupied with plans to discourage his daughterís friendship.
We cannot help making judgements by appearances, it is deep within us, innate perhaps, part of our Darwinian survival kit but we know as a civilised society and as a Christian community that we should overcome this and ďlove our neighbour as ourselves.Ē James in his letter draws distinction in his example between the appearance of the rich man, properly dressed and the poor man in dirty clothes. Which of us has not made judgements like this?
And yet, the boy with the green hair and safety pins might have been the kindest, gentlest and loveliest of men. I donít quite remember how it all turned out; I rather think that as with many rebellious first loves the girl moved on.
A few weeks ago we had a stunning wedding here: The groom wore a red Mohican, a brilliantly white suit, his earrings subtly matched the bridesmaidís dresses, the church was packed and the whole afternoon resounded with the love that this couple have for one another.
What a privilege we have in St Margaretís to welcome all into Godís church: rich, poor, conservative, radical, young and old; may we always do so.