The Gospel at the Royal Wedding?
by Kevin Palau
Luis Palau Association Blogs
I was moved by last week’s Royal Wedding, but not for the reasons one might expect. While I did enjoy the historic traditions, interesting guests, and overall beauty of the event, my primary interest (and if I’m honest, surprise) was in the overwhelming Gospel-centeredness of the whole affair. The future King and Queen of England took a reported 2 billion to church through their Christ-centered ceremony. Nearly one third of the world population watched as Dr. Richard Chartres, The Lord Bishop of London, told the beautiful story of our “generous God.” Through this wedding, it seems that more at least caught a glimpse of the Gospel than through years of evangelistic television specials.
The echoes of hundreds of years of Christian culture, and of reformers and evangelists like Wesley and Whitfield were heard in British hymns such as “Guide Me, Oh My Great Redeemer”, and made visible in the images of William and Catherine kneeling for prayer, and praying “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. Catherine’s brother, James, read with great feeling and respect, a lengthy passage from Romans 12:
“‘I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God- what is good and acceptable and perfect… Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.’”
I wonder when the last time was that so many heard so much of the New Testament?
The wedding sermon from the Lord Bishop of London clearly articulated biblical truth and wisdom, “‘You have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God, who so loved the world, that He gave Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each other. Spiritual life grows, as love finds its center beyond ourselves.’”
Those rightly decrying the collapse of traditional marriage and wanting to defend it could hardly ask for a better ally, albeit an unexpected and unplanned one. As the Bishop so eloquently put it, “‘Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be. Their deepest and their truest selves… Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this: the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul… In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life… It is necessary that a solemn decision is made that whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love… Marriage should transform as husband and wife make one another their work of art. As we move toward our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light.’”
To hear the ancient commands on the sanctity of marriage was moving and a reminder that in the West there remains an awareness of the staying power of traditional definitions.
I’m certainly not meaning to imply that there was any evangelistic intent in any of this. Nor am I speculating on what any of it meant personally to those in attendance. But I am encouraged that a young couple, on whom the eyes of the world lay, didn’t shy away from putting themselves under the authority of Scripture and of the Anglican Church in taking their wedding vows. As the world watched, Jesus Christ and the love of God were on display.
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