Today there are a lot of blog posts, Facebook statuses, tweets, and articles pouring across the internet about the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I did not want to add one more opinion to the overabundance, yet here I am writing about the "royal wedding"--a subject I wanted to avoid.
Even though weddings are a necessary part of my job description, I would be lying if I said they were my favorite responsibility. Weddings are high-stress, time-consuming responsibilities for everyone involved. I struggle with the commercialization and competition that has developed around a covenant that is so deeply spiritual and a central metaphor in the Word of God. I grieve the superficial-ization (Yes, I may have invented that term just now) of the word, "love."
Still, I perform my duties of guiding the bride and groom not only through their wedding but more importantly into their marriage. Time after time, the Holy Spirit reminds me that no matter how secularized weddings may become, the sacredness of marriage described in the Scriptures is still possible. And in the presence of the sacred Scriptures, Jesus Christ is proclaimed.
At the wedding of Harry & Meghan, Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church in the USA did indeed proclaim the love of Jesus Christ with a powerful sermon.
But that wasn't my favorite part.
The prayers, orchestral arrangements, and choirs' anthems were as beautiful as Solomon's poetry read from the Song of Songs.
But those weren't my favorite parts.
The bride's and groom's whispered interactions and exchanged glances were sweet and genuine.
Normally, what I get to witness between bride and groom during the ceremony is my favorite part of a wedding.
But for this wedding, that was not my favorite part.
My favorite part of this worship service was the congregational singing. All 600+ guests stood and joined their voices to sing, "Lord of All Hopefulness" and "Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer." There were no soloists. No one voice stood out among the others. There was one song sung by one people. Among those people were Elton John, Marcus Mumford, at least one Spice Girl, and likely other recognized singers. Among those people were famous actors and actresses, models, sports stars, dukes, duchesses, and even a queen. Gospel choir joined with boy choir joined with some likely tone-deaf attendees. In congregational singing no one voice is greater than another, no matter how famous or infamous some of them may be by earthly title or standard.
Whether the song comes from a cathedral in Europe or a rural chapel in North America or an open-air gathering in Africa, choirs of voices throughout the world and across time humble us before the mighty sound of God Almighty. The only one worthy of the "royal" title is Jesus Christ, whose Bride is the Church. The Church is not just the cathedral or the chapel or the tent revival. The Church is all of the above and so much more, the choir of earthly and heavenly voices who choose to praise Lord of all Hopefulness and to follow the Great Redeemer.
The Bridegroom has extended the invitation not only to a royal wedding but to a heavenly marriage. Will you join the song?
all good things to each of you,