Generous Orthodoxy  

Monday, May 02, 2011

More about the royal wedding

On the day after, a friend who is a Presbyterian minister called with three striking observations, which I have summarized as follows:

--He apparently had never heard the rite of Holy Matrimony from Cranmer's Prayer Book, and was quite moved by it. He lamented the loss of elevated language for speaking about God. He was struck moreover by how Reformed the traditional liturgy sounded. That is the influence that was deliberately scrubbed out of the revised Prayer Book, to our great loss.

--He thought the homily was not bad, but the Bishop of London missed a great opportunity to proclaim the power and grace of God which alone can "put the pieces back together" when so many who were listening had experienced wrenching and very public divorces. It's not the marriage of those two young people that gives us hope; it's the promises of God in Jesus Christ, working through faithful marriages (when against the odds they are maintained) to give us signs of his own perfect faithfulness.

--The established nature of the Church of England prompted eschatological thoughts. It isn't possible, he agreed, to pull off a union of church and state because of our fallen condition; but for a fleeting moment, he thought, there was an eschatological glimpse of that future Day when kings will bow before the Name of Jesus and the nations will come before the throne of the Lord.

And I'll just add this additional thought: it was such a joy, and a blessed relief, to see the Church of England in full command of its own ceremony. What a contrast with Diana's funeral, when for reasons I have never understood, the Abbey and the Archbishop appeared to have yielded the reins almost entirely to Elton John and the Earl of Spencer, with bitterly disappointing results for those who had hoped the world would see how we Anglicans bury our dead. I wrote an article for The Living Church on this subject (posted on this site under "Discourses") which elicited 76 letters of enthusiastic approval sent to me. And yet the adulteration of the Burial of the Dead continues apace, being now called "the celebration of the life of..."