At a wedding ceremony, the priest asked the congregation if there was anyone who had anything to say regarding the union of the bride and bridegroom – whether there was any impediment why the two should not be married.
There was a commotion when a woman from the back of the church started walking towards the front with a child in her arms. Then you could have heard a pin drop! The bride fainted. The bridegroom wiped his forehead with his wedding handkerchief.
The minister asked the woman coming forward if she had anything to say. ‘Yes,’ she answered, ‘we can’t hear anything at the back.’
Sometimes we have a habit of reading into situations things which are not there. We may misunderstand people’s reactions or intentions. It is easy to give the wrong impression. If we’re not careful we can easily jump to the wrong conclusion. People are very quick to judge others. This can cause distress and even lead to conflict. It reminds me of the words of Jesus when he said, ‘do not judge, or you too will be judged.’ He went on to say, ‘first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’ The message that Jesus came to bring was similarly misunderstood particularly by the Scribes and Pharisees. He came to bring love and care, reconciliation and unity. He came so that we might have life and to have it more abundantly. They did not see it this way. Such was their indignation that they got him arrested and then crucified.
There are times in our lives when we need to order our priorities. It is important that we have that assurance that Jesus is with us along life’s journey.
Canon Stephen Bradberry