The Royal Wedding
The news for the last several weeks has been filled with reports from England about the wedding of Prince William and Kate that occurred this morning in London. People have gone crazy wanting every last detail of the plans and what the bride is wearing. Tourism is up by huge numbers and people were already camping near Westminster Abbey several days ago in anticipation of the arrival of the bride and groom.
This is the most important Royal wedding since Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, almost a generation ago. I even heard a report on an American woman who wanted to attend the events in England, but her boss said the company was shorthanded, and would not give her permission to take time off. So she quit her job! And she was interviewed on the evening news because of the great thing she did by quitting! I can’t believe it. Sometimes, people just have screwed up priorities. And I won’t even ask how many people set their alarm clocks for 4 a.m. this morning to get up early and watch the events live.
Now I can understand curiosity, or wondering about how royalty lives, and at times, I have questions about it myself. In fact, Janet and I are taking a trip to the British Isles this summer, and plan to visit several castles and other notable sites because we are interested in history and we are fascinated by the landscape of the Isles. Janet also wants to visit Belfast, the city were her paternal grandfather was born, and neither of us has ever been to Ireland, Wales or Scotland. But to lose your job over the Royal Wedding in England – come on!
I wish people would pay this much attention to another Royal Wedding that will happen. This is especially true when you realize that, as Christians, we are already betrothed to be married to the greatest king ever – Jesus Christ – King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Because the Bible makes it quite clear that there is a wedding in the future. And the whole process started when Christ announced the formation of his “ekklesia” (or church in the English language), in Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” And throughout the Scriptures, there are various references made to the wedding of the Lamb and how that will occur.
To most of us who are not familiar with the ancient traditions of the wedding process, we may not pick up all the signals. For instance, historically, the bridegroom would announce his intention to the person he wanted to marry and she would accept a drink of wine to seal the betrothal. It would also be several years before the wedding took place, during which time the bridegroom would provide a dowry to the family to signal the importance of the bride to him. Then, he would leave gifts behind to provide the bride with reminders of his love for her until he returned. And in the Jewish tradition, the bride would have to take a ceremonial bath before being able to attend the ceremony. Eventually, the bridegroom would return to whisk his bride away to his father’s home, where the wedding would take place. Finally, the bridegroom and his bride would return to the home they would establish together.
Looking at the wedding analogy in Scripture, Christ announced His intention to create his church, and those who accepted His free gift of salvation would enjoy eternal life with Him. At the Last Supper, the disciples accepted the bread and the wine; signifying their acceptance of the contract. He gave His life on the cross as a confirmation of the love that He had for the church – His dowry. During the absence of Christ from the earth, when He returned to his father’s home to prepare a place (get it?), he left the gift of the Holy Spirit to remind us of His love for us. Many theologians would suggest that baptism is the response to the Jewish ceremonial bath, and that when Christ returns to us, it will be like “a thief in the night”, just like the way it occurs in the Jewish tradition. We are then whisked away, suggesting the Rapture and the wedding will occur in His father’s house – heaven. Then, when the celebration takes place, we will return with Christ to the New Jerusalem to begin our eternal life in the presence of Christ.
Now, admittedly, there is quite a bit of imagery here, and many different interpretations of the wedding of Christ and His Church. But I think that every Christian would agree that it is the intention of Christ to spend eternity with His believers. We may differ as to the specific events leading up to this grand wedding, and the timing of these events, but these differences should not divide us.
Suffice it to say that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, are in for a treat as we are eternally “wed” to Christ. So my encouragement tonight is to let you know that God loves you more than William loves Kate. And you have the greatest King in history proposing to spend all eternity with you. He is kind, compassionate, humble, truthful, loyal and all the other traits that are the deepest desires of your heart for an eternal companion. And my prayer for you this evening is that you will do everything possible to prepare your mind and your heart – to be the best you can possibly be – as a sign of devotion, love and respect for the Savior of the world. Because you get to participate in a Royal Wedding – the greatest one of all time!