Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:12-14
Sixty-five years ago today, in the quiet town of Rayleigh, about 40-miles to the east of London in the county of Essex, Grace Ellen Watts Kemp married David Frederick Maul. The couple honeymooned in the Wye Valley, then immediately occupied a small flat on the waterfront in Folkestone, Kent, overlooking the English Channel.
Then, before the ink had even dried from their signatures on that first lease, they joined Folkestone Baptist Church, living the Good News, worshipping God, encouraging others, supporting the ministry, and participating without wavering for the next 28 years.
Over the six and a half decades (to date) of their marriage, my parents have lived as eloquent and faithful witnesses to the promises they made all those years ago in the Rayleigh Baptist Church.
One of the key reasons this particular marriage has worked so well is – I believe – the fact that my mum and dad have always lived out their commitment in the context of not only their personal faith, but the community of faith.
We can have the loftiest ideas, ideals, principles, plans, and intentions, but we were designed by our Creator to be beings who are defined by relationship – relationship to one another, and relationship with God. We need – and our relationships need – the prayers, the love, the support, the encouragement, and the accountability of the Body of Christ.
So the most happiest of anniversaries to you, Grace and David Maul; may your marriage continue to both inspire and encourage the rest of us along the way. And, it is also my prayer that more people will understand the necessary relationship between a marriage that works and an unwavering commitment to follow the Living Way of Jesus.
In love, and because of love – DEREK