Earlier today, Prince William wed Catherine Middleton in what was undoubtedly the most watched wedding in history, with some estimates suggesting that 1/3 of the world – roughly 2 billion people – tuned in. Media coverage, obviously, has been ubiquitous, hyperbolic, and, more often than not, trivial in the weeks and months leading up to today.** But that’s what the media does: they create hype, regardless of the significance of the event. And the buildup for the royal wedding was perhaps unlike anything we have ever seen. In pop culture mathematics, it would be expressed as:
Severe Weather Tracker 3 + (Academy Awards Fashion Wrap-up x Charlie Sheen Interview) + Twilight “Breaking Dawn” Movie Release (Part 1 + Part 2) – Anything Snookie = Royal Wedding
The excitement in England goes without saying, but the reaction across the pond here in America has been mixed. There are those who stayed up all night attending fancy “royal wedding” soirees. Others just want it all to be over so they can go back to watching their regular high-quality TV programming without being constantly reminded that England still has a monarchy. Others still are remarkably indifferent. I fall somewhere on the spectrum of recognizing some historical significance, but not enough to get me up out of bed before my normal waking time.***
Regardless of where you stand on all of that, there are a few realities that we can see in light of all the wedding hubbub. For one, the royal wedding is symbolic of tradition of the past and of hope for the future. Amidst all the pomp and circumstance that represents the grand history of an entire country, there is an overwhelming feeling of hope for a bright future; that somehow the optimism shared by a young couple standing at the altar will carry over into the lives of the rest of the nation, and even the world; that somehow we get the feeling that everything will be ok.
But this vicarious optimism also points to a more stark reality. A reality that, while a princess takes a carriage ride to Buckingham Palace for the first kiss with her new husband, a violent string of severe storms in the Southern states killed over 300 people this week. A reality that the entire nation of Japan is still reeling over the devastation of a huge earthquake and subsequent tsunami. A reality where the lavish expense of a royal wedding stands in stark contrast to the fact that 1.2 billion people in the world live off of less than $1 a day.
What hope can a wedding bring to the harsh, painful reality of the here-and-now?
Very real, transformational, life-giving hope. That’s what.
Hope is all about the future. A wedding hopes for a future where two are joined together in intimate relationship, completely committed to and satisfied in one another. It’s the kind of relationship that we all long for because it promises that we will be loved and cared for. Always.
And here is the real hope I am reminded of today: the hope that one day there is going to be a Royal Wedding that will blow all our pop culture media equations and human expectations out of the water. A wedding where the King of Kings comes to claim His bride and to establish His eternal kingdom with her.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:2-4
Read that again. Slowly.
There is the hope. No more crying. No more pain. A new order where we will dwell with God intimately, and He with us.
The major TV networks may not be hyping this Wedding at all. You won’t find Oprah or Barbara Walters or Katie Couric or Oprah hosting prime-time shows with people who have been invited to that Wedding. But, oh, there will be a celebration! The Bridegroom himself, Jesus Christ, has already paid the dowry with his own blood, and He has gone to prepare a place for His bride, the Church.
There is the hope in the midst of this here-and-now: to those who have said “yes” to Christ, we wait for his return, amidst the pain, sorrow, agony, of this world. The vow has been made: we are His. And on that Day, the things of this world will fade away and what we once hope for will become reality.
So, yeah. I guess I like weddings.
* Yes, I am blogging about the Royal Wedding. But before you judge me, let it be known that I also watched the first round of the NFL draft last night in its entirety – all four hours.
** A few days ago, one media segment focused on the kind of dress that Kate might wear for her wedding. How is that news!?
*** More than anything, the royal wedding served as a motivational tool to get my 5-year-old daughter out of bed to get ready for school. “Sweetie, it’s time to get up. If you hurry, you can watch a real princess get married on TV while you eat your breakfast!” Worked like a charm.