Like many Americans my wife and I watched the royal wedding Saturday sharing with millions of Americans in what is usually a sort of detached curiosity as to what goes on “over there across the pond.” But this time it was different. We had enjoyed Will and Kate’s wedding and greatly admire their modernity, graciousness, and of course, their children. But the wife and I had merely tuned into their wedding, content with savoring bits and pieces of it at that time. Harry and Meghan’s wedding was different. We devoured it in an all day feast, engorging ourselves in every little detail, every side story. But what surprised me the most was how moving both of us found it.
From the outset it was so apparent how much in love the couple were. Not a young, sappy sentimental love, but a mature, calculated love. A love that saw in each other a dedication to serving others, and that together they could more effectively work for change than each could do on their own. It was no wonder, then, that the couple chose Bishop Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, to deliver the wedding sermon. Although the Episcopal Church is an offshoot of Anglican Church of England, this was anything but a typical Anglican homily.
It was rousing, inspiring and evangelical in the broadest sense of the term. He talked about the love of God and how different the world would be if we all realized it and practiced it. It was the core message of Jesus, given in the most inclusive, nonjudgemental way. I was a bit nervous, as it was more emotional and a tad longer than I envisioned the Royal family and the British guests were accustomed to, but they got through it none the worse for wear. Harry and Meghan seemed touched by it.
I was curious how Franklin Graham, the son of the late Rev. Billy Graham, would react. His father was on good terms with the Queen. Graham tweeted and Facebooked his congratulations, but couldn’t leave it at that. He commented that although he wasn’t invited to this particular wedding, he was invited to the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” Then asked if the reader was invited to that marriage in heaven. Salvation invitation aside, I did feel like I had been invited to the Royal wedding. I related to the young couple on many levels and definitely felt like I “had been to church,” a comment I heard a number of commentators share.
You see, I think Graham didn’t see Jesus in the wedding, because he wasn’t looking for him. We can find Jesus at work in many unexpected places, if we expect it, if we don’t box God in expecting him to only work one way. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex exemplify the love of God in an unexpected way. Their love overcame so many barriers, as does Christ’s love. Race, nationality, social class, religion, culture…it is why I felt so overcome at times watching it unfold. While the Religious Right leadership, like Franklin Graham see the world falling apart and headed to perdition, this couple, in their understated way, represent hope. I hope you saw it too.