NOTE: The following was originally published on April 14, 2011.
Come April 29th, the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be televised by every major network and cable news channel. It will be viewed all over the world. Over one million people are expected to travel to London, if only to catch a glimpse and play their part.
Why? What is it about the royal wedding that pulls so many people in?
To some degree, it is, of course, the substance of the classic fairy tale: beauty, romance, nobility and prestige, not to mention the hope and expectation of a happy marriage and life. We’re all drawn to stories of this nature because consciously or subconsciously, we all hope that “happy ending” will someday happen to us, at least in some form or fashion.
But is there more to it than that?
On November 20, 1947, at a time when England was still staggering to its feet following the end of World War II, Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip. It wasn’t without controversy; Philip’s sisters had married Germans with Nazi ties. But still, all of Britain was aglow and agog. Winston Churchill called the moment “a flash of color on the hard road we have to travel.”
Jump ahead thirty-four years to July 29, 1981. England is stuck in the mire of a cultural malaise and a bad economy. The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer is welcomed by the world with wild approval and applause. Standing outside the palace gate, a local British citizen, Sonia Lorrimer, as quoted in the New York Times, seemed to sum up the mood of the moment: “It’s the kind of news that makes you happy to be British again,” she said. “God bless that pretty young couple.”
But I’m still not convinced that’s it. There has got to be more to all the interest than a high octane blend of fantasy and fairy tale.
Could this be it: I am keenly aware that many who follow royalty would not ascribe theological motives to their interest. In fact, even those who see the world through the lens of a Christian worldview might consider “royal watching” as a guilty pleasure, akin to ice cream or a trip to Nordstrom’s.
Nevertheless, I’m wondering if so many are so drawn because God has planted a seed of strong desire in every person. A desire for what? A desire to be wanted, loved, admired and cherished. A desire to look clean and beautiful and spotless. Even those who don’t know or even acknowledge these desires still have them – which is why so many care – and why so many watch.
But the best news of all is this: The greatest royal wedding is yet to come—and you and I are invited! One day the King of Kings will be united with His bride, the Church, and there will be a celebration like no other.
The words of the prophet Isaiah foreshadow that wonderful day: “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (61:10).
In just one week we will commemorate the greatest sacrifice of all time and space. For on Good Friday we will ponder anew the fact that He lost His garments, His robes, on the cross, so that we might be robed in the glory of eternal life with Him.
And that is the greatest and happiest story in the world.