Everyone who watched the royal wedding today in the beautiful St. George Chapel will have their own opinion of its significance, other than it was a very expensive wedding that may have brought excitement to people around the world…especially in England. I write this blog not to throw cold water on any of the festivities, but to point out that there may have been a missed opportunity.
Being an Episcopalian (Anglican to you Brits), I first have to say that the Episcopalians love their reverence, quiet solitude for reflection and prayer in their church services. We love beautiful choir music…soft and dignified…not boisterous. The church is a sacred place which is often called “God’s house.” It is not a theatre or a stadium. I am certain that the Anglicans throughout the world feel the same way.
Having said that, I have also been a part of “get down and happy” southern church services that put no stock at all in formality. Both places of worship have the pluses and minuses for different people. Some feel that music should be “praise music” and if the preacher preaches loud and long, then he is a “real preacher.” The ability to speak out and say “Amen” is part of the overall service. In most cases, in the Anglican (Episcopal) churches saying anything aloud is rare unless one is part of the service readings.
Episcopalians or Anglicans have Holy Communion each service. They might enjoy a shorter and to the point sermon. I have been to southern, African American churches where I was welcomed and actually escorted from the back seat to the front to share my love for Jesus with the congregation. I could not have been more warmly welcomed as a person not of color.
I want to comment on the American Episcopal Bishop, Michael Curry, who was asked to give the message at the royal wedding. He may have missed a golden opportunity. I don’t mean that he could have shortened his message or that his subject on God’s love was not a good one. He was certainly enthusiastic about what he was saying.
It was a message on love which was appropriate for a wedding. However, he only briefly mentioned Jesus with some words on “redemption” without explaining it clearly., Jesus gave his life and rose from the dead to bring redemption to mankind. He is the essence of God’s love.
Bishop Curry had an audience of a life-time with millions if not billions of people watching. Many of those people know nothing about the love of God or His redemptive power. Jesus is the “GREATEST LOVE of all, but we have to receive His Love just as one would receive a beautiful gift. This Perfect Love seemed to be minimized and somewhat lost as the sermon went on with other unrelated thoughts on “industrialization” and changin the world. This was unfortunate and disappointing.
God’s love and mercy also includes reconciliation, not division. When Bishop Curry began to talk about slavery…much of which could be contributed to the fore-fathers of the elite British audience in attendance…the message brought up a painful subject to many. As much as they might like to do so, the wedding congregation cannot go back and change their history. Neither can the Americans who came from England and bought the slaves to work their plantations. History is to be learned from, not lived over and over.
The bride and groom planned their wedding to be inclusive with choirs singing spirituals, which may have not been heard in St. George Chapel. This may have been a good, inclusive and memorable part of the wedding service. Some are saying, “Bishop Curry stole the show.” Perhaps…but his style of preaching was a genuine style of preaching for him and his background. The Anglicans have their style and he was in their territory for the day. If they were made to feel “uneasy,” perhaps the bridal party should have thought of that earlier.
We may want to be one, big world-family with everyone singing the same song and loving one another throughout the entire world. It is a lofty message. How likely is that to happen? Never…until Christ comes back and every eye shall see Him and every knee bows before Him. That will be real PEACE AND LOVE.
A brief history of St. George Chapel: St. George’s castle chapel was established in the 14th century by King Edward III and began extensive enlargement in the late 15th century. It has been the location of many royal ceremonies, weddings and burials… Windsor Castle is a principal residence for Queen Elizabeth II and its chapel is the planned burial site for the Queen. Other kings are buried here as well as some familiar names:
- Jane Seymore Queen of England, in 1537
- Henry VIII King of England and Ireland, in 1547
- Charles I King of England, Scotland and Ireland, in 1649 (credit Wikipedia)
VIDEO: St. George Chapel Choir rehearses for the wedding day.
Congratulations to the new couple.