What an absolutely delightful way to begin wedding season ~ a royal wedding. Oh, the dress! Oh, Kate’s shoes! Ah, the prince coaxing second kiss on the balcony! His uniform! Her something borrowed ~ a Cartier tiara (which she chose from at least six alternatives)! And all those hats! The trees in the Abbey! The rides in both the 1902 State Landau and the Aston Martin DB6 MK II! Prince William whispering, “You’re beautiful” to his bride! [Yes, I firmly believe that each of these deserves an exclamation point ~ I was certainly exclaiming over them.] Oh, I could easily delight in numerous other details; each tugging the corners of my mouth into a smile throughout the day. Therefore, if nothing else, I humbly thank their royal highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for taking the focus off of the annual NFL draft for at least a few hours [sidebar: let’s hope with a number 2 pick of Texas A&M’s strong-side linebacker Von Miller, we can jump start our defense, Broncos]. Or at least forcing my husband to listen to me gush over wedding details the way he does over wide-receivers and running backs.
True, my engraved invitation to Westminster Abbey, nor the Queen’s reception at Buckingham Palace, never arrived [international mail snafu, I suppose]. And no, I didn’t get up at 3am local time to share, along with 2.9 million people, in the joining of these two lives. I’m not hosting a high tea this afternoon, nor did I go out and purchase a hat just for the occasion. But the excitement, the buzz, the anticipation of said wedding did permeate my day. I might just take my little girl for a ‘low’ tea and ‘wedding’ cupcake this afternoon; though we’ll likely forgo the just-flown-in Devonshire cream today. And we’ll certainly watch, at least, the highlights on the official YouTube channel of the British Monarchy. Why? Because it’s more than just two wealthy landowners flouting their power and opulence. It’s a fairytale that so many people (did I mention the 2.9 million viewers?) want to believe in. Beauty. And love.
There is something within each of us that longs to be a part of a celebration of these two truths. To gather together with friends and loved ones; to eat, drink, dance, and sing ~ in honor of the love of a groom for his bride. As joyous and beautiful as weddings here and now may be, not one, not Kate & William’s, not Di & Charles’s, not even mine or yours, will begin to compare with the wedding celebration that is coming. The celebration of a groom, who laid down his life for his cherished bride. The joy of a bride who was made beautiful by the love and sacrifice of her beloved. A feast to honor their coming together for all eternity, in which the words, “happily ever after,” will be ceaselessly and irrevocably true. When Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, the only Son of the Almighty God, welcomes his bride into His Father’s kingdom forever. It is the symbol of evil being forever banished, hearts being restored to their original purpose, and love exploding throughout all creation, in the presence of Almighty God and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Joy. Unending joy!
But, as with any wedding, you do not have to attend. You can RSVP “regretfully decline,” and go about with your own plans, in your own way. Opting out of the coming joy, you can instead choose to rely on your own power to save you from the looming darkness, the loneliness that knows no ceasing. For without entrance into Christ’s Heavenly Kingdom, all that is left is to answer for your actions; to attempt to explain why you picked your own way over Christ’s, and to face the punishment for declining Him. But know that your invitation remains open so long as you draw breath. You can change your response, you can accept Jesus’ offer of love and forgiveness and healing. He continues to ask you to join his family, to enter into his kingdom, to be lavished by his love. To become a part of his beloved, his bride.
So enjoy the frivolity, the vicariousness, the hopeful joy-evoking ceremonies that are weddings here and now, be they family events or international affairs. But know that there is a wedding on the horizon that will be the culmination of the entirety of human history, the wedding celebration of Jesus Christ and his bride, the body of followers for whom he sacrificed his very life. Because that is the wedding that is not to be missed.