With the birth of the royal baby boy, thought I would post this, which I wrote on the occasion of William & Kate’s wedding.
Prince William could barely contain his excitement as his betrothed, the possible future queen of England (in our world, these things are far from assured) floated down a seemingly endless red carpet, the strains of choral music accompanying her every step. Upon arriving at Westminster Abbey, and emerging from the Rolls Royce that had transported her, she was revealed for the first time as William’s bride – the mystery of “the dress” finally solved.
She floated down the aisle as her 8-foot train unfurled behind her, after having been straightened and draped, oh-so-carefully, by maid of honor and sister Pippa and another attendant. As cameras followed her to the alter, clasping hands with her father, Kate – soon to be Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – was a vision of pristine loveliness in white; modest lace-covered shoulders, full skirt and veiled face under the 1936 Cartier tiara borrowed from the Queen. She made her way to the front of the church to the strains of the Introit, and words of Psalm 122:1-3: “I was glad when they said unto me: We will go to the house of the Lord.”
While some viewers may have seen a fairytale come to life; the patient commoner finally getting her man, for me, the writings of Paul in Ephesians seemed to overlay the solemn yet joyful event. I started to reflect upon the mystery of the wedding – the symbol of that “mystical union of Christ and his church.”
Kate, the bride, without spot or wrinkle; the joyful anticipation on her face. The waiting bridegroom at the altar, barely able to contain himself from peeking at her as she descended the aisle.
The uncertainties, heartache, breakups and reconciliations are now firmly in the past. The stress of the last mad dash through wedding details is finished. What remains is only this: the enormity of a man and a woman pledging to love one another unconditionally: “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part, according to God’s holy laws.” Promising to share all worldly possessions. Pledging, in the prayer they jointly wrote for the ceremony, to live useful lives of service. I liked what the Archbishop of Canterbury had to say: “In a sense, every wedding is a royal wedding, and the man and woman king and queen of creation.”
Later, as she stood on the balcony above adoring crowds before the first kiss, her face now unveiled, she mouthed, “I am so happy.”
Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25 that marriage is holy, not just because it is instituted by God, but because it is a symbol of our relationship with him. He admonished, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless … this is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church …”
To see the re-enactment of this truth was like seeing a picture of heaven coming down to earth. We too are being prepared for our bridegroom. We have gone through trials, testings, maybe even a vale of tears. Perhaps life got so difficult that we broke it off, tried to throw it all away, and bravely go on on our own, as Kate reportedly did. Yet he came after us to woo us back.
I had a vision not long ago during my prayer time. I was dancing with Jesus, his arm lightly around me. I was dressed in a long white dress and veil; the dance was halting, hesitant. As he led, I tried, somewhat awkwardly to follow his steps.
One day, at least some version of that dance will become real, but all tentativeness will be put aside. The New Jerusalem will come down from heaven like a “bride adorned for her husband.” According to Paul, we will come to multitudes of angels in festal array.
We, too, will be given a new name. “And we, with unveiled faces [will] contemplate the Lord’s glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
In that day, I like Kate, will tell the bridegroom of my joy.
Although fairytales speak of happily ever after, we know in this world there is no such thing. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Even if you never divorce, one day one of you will abandon the other through death.
But when we are joined to our heavenly bridegroom, there truly will be a happily ever after, because finally, all things will be made new.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, now the dwelling of God is with men, and he shall live with them … He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the order of things has passed away. ” (Revelation 21:3 -4)