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The Royal Wedding

| May 2, 2011

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Last week, over 2 billion viewers—about a third of the world’s population—watched the Royal Wedding. As is common in marriage ceremonies, the Officiate opened with:

“Dearly Beloved; we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony—which is an honorable estate, instituted by God Himself, signifying to us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church . . .”

I wonder how many observers caught the depth of meaning in those opening words. That one sentence contains some profound, staggering truths about marriage and the meaning of manhood and womanhood and sex.

The traditional opening to the marriage ceremony acknowledges that marriage isn’t a man-made institution. It was instituted by God Himself. He’s the author of marriage, and therefore, He alone defines what marriage is all about.

The Reason God Created Marriage

The opening states that the reason God created male and female and marriage was to “signify” to us “the mystical union between Christ and His Church.” When God described the work of His Son as the sacrifice of a husband for his bride, He was telling us the ultimate reason why He made us male and female, and why He created marriage and sex. Christ and His Bride is the reason.

God created manhood, womanhood, marriage and sex because He wanted us to have symbols, images, and language powerful enough to convey the idea of who He is and what a relationship with Him is all about. Without manhood, womanhood, marriage and sex, we would have a tough time understanding concepts such as desire, love, commitment, fidelity, infidelity, loyalty, jealousy, unity, intimacy, oneness, covenant, and family. We would have a tough time understanding God and the gospel. God gave us these images so that we would have human thoughts, feelings, experiences and language adequate and powerful enough to understand and express deep spiritual truths. The visible symbols display and testify about what is unseen. That’s why the symbols are so very important.

Marriage puts the Gospel on Display

Human sexuality is a parable —a testimony to the character of God and to His spectacular plan of redemption through Jesus. This spiritual truth is so magnificent that God chose to put it on display permanently. Everywhere. Men were created to reflect the strength, love and self-sacrifice of Christ. Women were created to reflect the grace and beauty of the Bride He redeemed. God created marriage and sex to display the joining of Christ and the church in an indivisible covenant. History started with the covenant wedding and sexual union of a man and woman because it will end with the covenant wedding and spiritual union of Christ and His Bride. Marriage was created to tell the cosmic love story of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Marriage is Holy and Honorable

Finally, the introduction to the ceremony identifies matrimony as “a holy and honorable estate.” The Lord wants us to respect the deep, holy, sacred meaning of marriage, and uphold the sacredness of the sexual act. God intended that sex “seal the deal” of a marriage covenant. The physical union of a husband and wife illustrates—in the physical realm—that a permanent, legal, unbreakable covenant of love has been established in the spiritual realm.

The one-flesh union of husband and wife is to model and mimic cosmic truths about the mystical union between Christ and the Church. A covenant must be in place before any union can occur between God and man. The Lord wants us to tell this same story with our sexual conduct. Sex outside of a permanent, one-flesh, legal, heterosexual marriage covenant is a violation of God’s design. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

The Royal Wedding

Last week’s Royal Wedding was a joyous event. I was so glad to hear the Officiate acknowledge—right up front—that as splendid as the marriage of William and Kate was, it pales in comparison with that to which it points. The guests in Westminster Cathedral, the millions of spectators on the streets of London, and the billions crouched around TV screens in nations all around the world were all “gathered in the sight of God” to witness the joining of another man and woman in holy matrimony—which is an honorable estate, instituted by God Himself, signifying to us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church.

I wonder how many got the real message.

Watch Opening Words of Marriage Ceremony

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  1. Weekend Linkiness ~ 08/05/11 « Hope Scribbles | May 10, 2011
  1. Amen! You said my thoughts exactly! I loved it when Katelyn’s brother read the passage of Romans 12! I thought – really? – is this happening? – Romans 12 is being read on every channel! Woohoo! So exciting!

    Now it’s the work of the followers of Christ to live out in our marriage what God meant for our marriages to signify.

    We have made a mess of marriage in our world and it’s up to us as parents to live out God’s word and role model it to the next generation! After living it out in the home – we must be Titus 2 women – sharing it with women who have not seen it role modeled in their homes.

    Thank you Mary for leading women to truth! If only we could clone you!! lol! :-)

    Much Love,
    Courtney

  2. Jaclyn says:

    I thought the same–what a wonderful Christian witness to the world! Although William and Kate have been in most ways “married” for some time now, it speaks well of them to have such an unapologetic Christian message throughout their wedding…in the music, the sermon, and the scripture. They took a very active role in the planning of each detail; it wasn’t left to others to make those decisions. I hope this bodes well for a spiritual revival in the British monarchy. :)

    Somewhat depressing but also inspiring was seeing the contrast between the audience inside the Abbey and the crowds outside during the congregational singing. The people outside sang with joy and emotion; the celebrities inside looked stuffy and uncomfortable about having to sing in church. :/

    • D Moles says:

      I also agree with most of these comments but the unspoken tragedy is that most of the officiants may not have believed what they were saying in the liturgy as they are propoents of Same Sex Marriage which pointedly mars the point. Also the new bride and groom, as much as I loved the ceremony and liturgy, have been living together for some months (years?) also in sharp contrast to the picture of Christ and his bride the church. I do pray that the words of the liturgy would pierce the hearts with truth to all its hearers.

  3. Alexandra says:

    Wonderful article. I was wondering if people watching (& the royal couple too,of course) really grasped the depth of the words spoken by the Officiate.And yes, Kate’s brother was powerful in his delivery (does he have a seminary degree?!).
    I pray God would bless this couple as the world watches their lives unfold.
    Thank you again for the perfect article addressing this topic of love & marriage & God’s design.
    Sincerely, Alexandra

    • D Moles says:

      Catherine’s brother James did read Romans 12 very powerfully and clearly. The commentators on BBC made the point of him being a party boy and that he was on his best behaviour at the wedding. I would take this to mean that he doesn’t have a seminary degree. However it is a testimony once again of the power of the Word irrespective of who the reader is.

  4. Matthew says:

    I heard she refused to acknowledge the biblical mandate for a wife to submit / obey her husband…..

  5. Sarah says:

    Very nice article. I thought this wedding ceremony was lovely and unapologetic in its Christian message (as another commentator said). It was refreshingly simple FOR A ROYAL WEDDING (obviously he’s a Prince, he’s not going to get married in a gymnasium): Kate’s dress was not too extravagent, the couple left in a more simple carriage than the groom’s parents had back in 1981, and they did not invite as many guests as William’s parents had at their wedding.

    In addition, I found the ceremony to be very sexually modest; the phrase “blushing bride” was a reality for them. Catherine’s dress was long sleeved, a little tight, but still modest. They didn’t kiss at the altar and they weren’t all over each other (kissing and grabbing the other person) the whole time. When they did kiss on the palace balcony, it was only for about two seconds and they both turned bright red afterwards- don’t tell me that’s not incredibly tender and sweet. Compare that to most American weddings where the bride is wearing a backless, strapless gown, the couple is hugging and kissing each other every 5 minutes, and the girl is sometimes sitting on the guy’s lap. I think class and modesty in Christian weddings definitely need to make a comeback. The fact that most of my Christian friends found my views on this matter to be ridiculous and overly prudent is indicative of how far away from modesty we as a society have gone. No wonder so many westerners are running to Islam – they aren’t seeing enough examples of purity amongst Christians.

    On a side note, I do NOT by any means consider the British royal family (including William and Catherine) to be examples of Christian purity. This couple lived together for many years before marriage and William first fell in “lust” for Catherine at a fashion show where she was modeling lingerie on stage. They certainly were not enjoying the gift that God has created for marriage for the first time on their wedding night. Not to mention everyone involved (no matter how far away from God they were) was on their best behavior that day in order to not embarrass the Queen and the families of the couple. I just appreciated how they did their CEREMONY (regardless of the motives behind why they did what they did) and think that elements of their CEREMONY should be implemented in Christian wedding ceremonies.

    I pray that William and Catherine someday give their lives to the Lord. Camels rarely go through eyes of needles- but if it were to happen, that would be such an awesome testimony to the world; people who literally have every material thing that they could ever want acknowledging that all of those things are meaningless in light of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

  6. Mark says:

    This was great! Although as a guy and a scientist/student, I tend to not have time to look into royal dealings or things of that nature. But such a high profile event didn’t escape my notice (didn’t watch any of it though-thank you finals). I think Mary’s post was a great look the reality of what marriage is and how it was literally an in-your-face chance to bring that up with believers and unbelievers alike. Thanks for the read!

  7. Greg Donner says:

    …as an article from Diane Montgomery (unlockingfemininity.com) points out:

    1. Prince William will not wear a wedding ring.
    2. Kate will not vow to “obey” or “submit” to her husband.

    http://unlockingfemininity.com/2011/04/28/the-royal-wedding-no-ring-no-obeying/

    Without commitment, there is no marriage. Just fancy ceremony.

  8. Michelle says:

    I love this article! It sums up all the things I was thinking when I watched the wedding, but with so much additional food for thought. After reading this I have a renewed sense of encouragement and excitement for that great day when we the Church are united with Christ our Bridegroom. Thank you for sharing your wonderful insight!