Lessons from a Royal Wedding: Marriage Still Matters
Why wake up early and watch a wedding spectacle of people you don’t know, and likely will never meet? Who cares about the Royals? Isn’t their marriage doomed to fail anyway?
Let me tell you why I made it a point to watch, and celebrate even, the royal nuptials.
Since before the Fall, God has ordained marriage as important, special, and yes, even necessary.
So, I recorded the wedding (even though I would have loved to watch live. . .I’m just not a morning person and I DID want to watch all of the commentary beforehand!). I got the boys safely off to school, brewed a pot of coffee and had a mimosa on standby to toast the happy couple from my armchair.
As much as I enjoyed all of the pomp leading up to the ceremony, I loved the wedding service even more. With a pastor for a husband, I’m a bit of a wedding junkie. I’ve been to many weddings, those for older and younger people, large affairs and smaller, private occasions. (For the record, I do believe that in 10 years of marrying people the Rev. has 100% success rate thusfar. Premarital counseling IS important). I’ve heard a lot of wedding music, some good, some questionable and even some with very little music. I’ve seen all manners of gowns. I’ve seen well behaved and embarrassing bridesmaids.
What I loved about the royal wedding was how understated it really was! Westminster Abbey really needs very little to dress it up, and the simplicity and beauty of Kate’s gown made it all the more stunning than some flashier models I’ve seen. I adore the concept of young children as bridal attendants. They are much lower maintenance and sometimes better behaved.
The music was beautiful. I enjoyed watching the entire congregation actually SINGING during the congregational hymns. Ubi Caritas et amor is now officially my favorite wedding music selection.
What really blew me away though, was the well preached, simple message of the value of marriage from the Bishop of London. The full text can be found here.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.
Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.
In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.
William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another. . .
Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:
“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”
As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.
As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.
I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.
–portions of the sermon given by the Bishop of London on the occasion od the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
So, today we celebrate the marriage of virtual strangers, and yet, we can also examine and appreciate our own marriages. We may not be married to princes, but we are no royalty either. What we should do though, is build each other up, and follow the example of Jesus!
Chime in! Did you watch the wedding? What was your favorite part? Did you remember your own wedding when watching? What was your favorite part of your own wedding day? You know I’d love to hear from you!