Royal Wedding Theology

Royal Wedding Theology April 29, 2011

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):

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:

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.

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