Royal Wedding Theology

You’ve got to hand it to the Brits: they know how to do pomp and circumstance. The entry of Catherine Middleton into Westminster Cathedral is something to behold (it starts at 1:30):

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I confess: I’m a sucker for weddings.  In part this is because I’ve had the honor of officiating over several of them.  It’s a remarkable thing to share with a loved one in one of the most important moments of their lives.  As the officiant, you have the best seat in the house.  You see the faces of the bride and groom as a thousand and one emotions ripple across their faces, and you get to speak something into their lives at that moment.  In all probability, they will not remember a word that you spoke even a couple hours later.  They’re overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts and all the little moments and images that barrage them on that day.  But there is usually a record, and you know — or hope — that some in the crowd will be affected, and that the bride and groom will look back at the video or will read the remarks you prepared and will, in those words and images, remember the love that first brought them together.

Yet I also love marriages for the intricate theology that Christianity sets around them.  If indeed 2 billion people watched the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton today, then they received a heavy dose of sacramental theology from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and thus the head of the Church of England.  In deep and resonant tones, and with a heavy dose of thees and thous and wilts and shalts, the Archbishop spoke clearly on the purpose and gravity of marriage.  It was a remarkable teaching moment.

Patheos assembled information here on the religious and ecclesial elements of the royal wedding.  For me, however, the heart of the ceremony was here:

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The Christian theology of marriage — in which two truly become one — implies that those of us who are called to marriage will only become ourselves fully and truly when we have found the one for whom we were intended.  I don’t know the extent to which William and Kate actually put their trust in God and take refuge in the grace he has offered the world in Christ.  But I pray a blessing upon their marriage, and pray that through their marriage God might teach them more and more about his love and wisdom and mercy.  Amen.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • http://gmail.com Jason D’Haviland Firestone

    Also it was more than ironic that the choir sang “Ubi caritas”, in Latin during the wedding. Ironic indeed is the fact that, these days, one is more likely to hear high quality Latin music in an Anglican church than in the churches of the tradition which jettisoned it’s cultural heritage about 50 years ago, and that very likely, 99.99% of those watching from the Roman tradition would not know where that piece of music came from, or where that antiphon used to be chanted.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Nice point.

  • Brandon

    Abbey.

    Rookie mistake. Westminster Cathedral is the big brick building down the road that is the seat of the catholic archbishop Vincent Nichols.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Whoops. Nice of you to call it a “rookie mistake,” but it was just careless and quick typing. I’ve been there several times. But anyway, thanks for the correction.


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