For some time now I have been a so-called contributor to this blog. Actually, I’ve never contributed anything other than the odd comment now and again since Craig invited me to contribute some time ago. But, since Craig is ‘off grid’, this looks like as good a time as any to start.
Friday I, like countless others, rose in the wee hours of the morning to watch the royal wedding. Yes, I even attended a royal wedding party as well. Later in the day, a woman whose job it is to hand make wedding dresses said to me, “I don’t care about the stupid royal wedding! It’s just two more people getting married!” Actually, she sort of shouted it at me. Well, on one level, she’s right.
However, a wise pastor once told me that you make contact with more unchurch, underchurched and lapsed Christians at weddings and funerals than any other church activity. If he is correct, and I think he is, then yesterday’s wedding was a marvelous thing.
People all around the world watched a worship service in person, in public squares, on television. Tons of us sang along with “Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer” and the other hymns. The reporters in the massive public gatherings in the UK say that the groups there sang along with the music coming from the enormous screen. Countless numbers of people recited together the Lord’s Prayer and heard beautiful renditions of “This Is The Day Which The Lord Hath Made” and “Ubi Caritas” (Where charity and love reside, God is dwelling there.)
Oh I am not naïve enough to think that everyone was as enthralled with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s deft flipping of his mitre tails over his head mid ceremony or the gorgeous copes they all wore. (I do contend, however, not many can escape the hypnotic power of AB Rowan Williams eyebrows.) I am not foolish enough to think that many got very close to the screen to see what was on the altar and the images behind it as I did. I’m sure many would never even realize they were watching a worship service and maybe many…maybe even the majority of all who listened and watched cared more about the hats and dresses and Kate Middleton’s sister’s figure and David Beckam. That is all true.
Yet all who watched heard the proclamation of these words “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect…” and the rest of the Romans 12 text chosen for the day.
And that is a good thing.