People in Bristol have started copying Paris and attaching padlocks to bridges and throwing the key in the water as a sign of love. Here is my thought for the day, as delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning, based on this news item:
Lovers have been declaring undying commitment in imaginative ways ever since undying love began. Wandering around the cities, towns and villages of our region we see names carved on trees, written on benches, scrawled on walls. 'Jason and Kylie together forever', once a brave statement of 1980s teenage infatuation, looks a bit dated in 2014. Wonder how it worked out for those two?
So what do we make of the idea, imported from France, of lovers leaving locks attached to bridges and railings, as a sign of their love. Kind of quirky? Or well-meaning and magical?
We carry within us a deep desire to do things that mark the moment. Symbolic acts are outward and visible signs of inward, invisible meanings.
I am a vicar. I have married lots of people. In the marriage service a strong, circular symbol of unending love and faithfulness is placed freshly on a bare finger. The bride and groom will say:
I give you this ring
as a sign of our marriage.
With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
It's always a poignant moment as it is the last symbolic act before I pronounce the couple husband and wife.
A lock is not love. A ring is not a marriage. But they are signs and we like signs.
So good luck to those who have found love and want to do something. Course, if you want to take your commitment further and really lock it in; give your vicar a call.