These are the words I’ve just heard being spoken by the Right Reverend Richard Chartres as he started his sermon at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Having watched some of the build up to the wedding and the service, it has to be said that such events are something that we excel at in Britain – whether we are loyal monarchists or ardent republicans, there’s no getting away from the fact that we do pomp and ceremony well! It was also fascinating seeing the blend of ancient and modern in all that went. One thing that we noted as a family was the comment that as she travelled to the Abbey, Kate Middleton did not receive a royal salute, as she was a commoner, but that she would do so as she left. How strange it must be to start the day as a non-royal and end up being the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of the future King of England!
As Royals and representatives of our country we should pray for them as Paul encourages us to pray for all leaders. They are and will be significant figures in our land.
The Bible has much to say about marriage. Rowan Williams outlined them quite clearly (if in rather ‘traditional’ English) at the start of the service. One of the things he mentioned was that marriage is a symbol of the mystical relationship between Christ and the Church as Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25-33. This is a remarkable image that runs throughout the Bible. The Holy Spirit is described as being a down-payment, a guarantee of our future relationship with God; the word as would have been used to describe an engagement ring (Eph 1:13-14). Then in Rev. 21, a most remarkable passage. Here the Holy City is described as coming down from Heaven to Earth:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This described the Day when just as in Eden, God will come and dwell with humanity, make his home with them. This is the beautify relationship that marriage points towards, the coming together of commoner and royal, created and Creator, human and Divine. After that day life will never be the same again. After that day, we shall go from being commoners to royals. That day will indeed be a day of joy and a day of hope!
Article for our church newsletter, 31.04.11