I hope the best for the new royal couple, for sure. I whispered a quick prayer that this ceremony is not something they view as an “arrival”, but rather a beginning. (I think that was actually in the message from Diana’s wedding.) But looking through the transcripts of what was to be said, I realize how “traditional” the ceremony seemed. The name “Jesus” spoken many times, and credit given to God as creator, asking God to bless their marriage, and that they would live “through Jesus”, etc. I suppose the main “non-traditional” element echoes the last royal wedding, in Princess Kate not wanting to promise to “obey” the Prince. All the religious talk is a bit surprising for a European “trendy wedding”, unless you consider the throne is also the head of the Church of England.
But what we see in the royal couple is, unfortunately, a microcosm (10 points if you can use that word this week) of what weddings and marriages often become these days. As seen in a quick confirmation of Kate last month, and the fact that neither she nor her parent were actively involved in a church previously, it seems the role as head of the Church of England may hopefully be the catalyst that moves this marriage toward a foundation in Christ.
It seems like many of our weddings (and marriage relationships, for us already-weds) are a fancy/fairytale way of making the statement: “God, please bless this thing we’ve been doing, and we’re going to do with or without you.” Instead of saying: “God, please show up and move, because we cannot make two become one without you.”
Prince William and Princess Kate had been living together since mid-2010. Minus the obligational references to God, this ceremony seems to simply be the beginning of their official economic and royal partnership. Many of us, similarly, go days, weeks, and sometimes longer in our marriage relationships without acknowledging the need for Jesus to be regularly present if this thing is going to be more than just two people making a family together.
It’s no mistake that the relationship between husband and wife connects so deeply with the picture of Christ and the Church. God desires to reveal Himself to and through us. But just as the Church without the Holy Spirit can easily become simply an optimistic Jesus-club…a marriage without an active foundation in Christ can easily become two people who live together.
And so, as we high-five our friends across the seas and talk about how beautiful the ceremony was….we are at the same time challenged to invite Christ to be actively involved in our courtships, engagements, weddings, and marriages. May His presence bring transformation and new life in ways we could never accomplish on our own…