Many of you may have watched the Royal Wedding this morning for one reason or another. I watched it for two reasons myself, first my mother being half English and half Welsh, I inherited a certain love for the Royal Family, and secondly, being a former Episcopalian, I love to see liturgy well done, and I did.
I do hope though, that the Royal Wedding will inspire us, not just in the US, but the west as well. Currently, one-third of all children born in the US are born out of wedlock. This is a horrible number. We know in the US that most children in single parent families do not finish high school, and the girls often go on to be unwed mothers. According to the British Ministry of Health, the child of an unwed mother is thousands of times more likely to be molested than the child of a married couple. How many times do we hear in the US on the news about the mother’s boyfriend being involved in injuring, killing, or abusing a child? Far too many. So I hope this wedding will convince people that marriage is a good thing.
Now, what can we get out of the wedding?
First of all, the Dean of Westminster provided for us definition of marriage, which can be found here.
Before going on, I would like to note that this has been the basic description of marriage by the church of England since the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, from which almost all Christian marriage services in English are based. It probably goes further back, as the authors of the 1549 translated from books used before hand in England.
Let us start out with the second part:
“First, It was ordained for the increase of mankind according to the will of God, and that children
might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name.”
That is pretty obvious. If one of the principle reasons for matrimony is to have children, then marriage must be between a man and a woman. But it goes on, not only to have children but to train them up in the knowledge and love of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, i.e., not just to be parents, but to see the children grow up in church.
Next, and this is a takeoff from I Corinthians. “Secondly, It was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God,
should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate,
should continue therein in pureness of living.” In other words marriage is to keep us from sinning. All sex outside of Matrimony is a sin. Let me repeat, ALL SEX OUTSIDE OF MATRIMONY IS A SIN. Do we believe this anymore? Obviously our media doesn’t believe it. Too many TV shows (even Smallville and Chuck) have their heroes having sex before marriage. It makes me ill. What to do? Stop watching those shows. They promote immorality. We need to quit buying products those shows sell and write the advertisers and tell them why. Our kids have been brainwashed by the media, and I fear what may come next.
“Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of
the other, both in prosperity and adversity.”
That one is straight forward. Marriage is so we can take care of each other. I take care of my wife, she takes care of me.
Now back to the first paragraph: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation,
to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate,
instituted of God himself, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his
Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle
that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee, and is commended in Holy Writ to be honourable among
Look at it again. Marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and his church. In my church and in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches we would say that marriage is an icon pointing out to us the relationship between Christ and the church. This is what makes marriage so important. This is also why so many youths and children are little prepared for Christianity. They have no model, having no father, or having malfunctioning parents. There are several key passages from Ephesians, I Thessalonians, and I Peter which tell us about marriage. The man must love his wife as his own body, ready even to die for her. Women are to honour and respect their husbands and be subject to them. In other words, the husband is to Love (like Jesus loved the church, ready to die for her) and the wife must respect the husband (as the Church respects Christ). Will we ever find this perfectly expressed in any marriage. Probably not, but we hope that William and Catherine, and all Christian couples would have this as a goal. Women will tell us it is not practical, but I still open doors for all women, not just my wife. A man who loves his wife as he loves his own body is not going to abuse his wife or force her to do things she doesn’t want to do. A husband who truly loves his wife is going to consult her in making decisions, and not be a tyrant. A wife who truly respects her husband will find the children will respect her as well, often without having to go overboard in teaching them to do so.
One more thing about Christian marriage. “Till death do us part.” Marriage is not something we undertake saying in our hearts, “until we get divorced” or “until I get tired of him/her” or “until I find someone better.” It is a permanent relationship. In the USA today, very few people understand marriage to be a permanent relationship. Look at how this affects our children’s faith. “God will love me till hen finds someone else.” “God will love me until I am bad.”
When we see our parents struggling and succeeding, (or at least trying their best) we start realising how much the Messiah truly loves us. He loves us if we obey or not. He loves us without condition, all he asks is for us to love him back, and when we truly love him, we will want to obey him with all of our hearts and minds and strength.
Please then, join with me. Husbands, learn to love your wife as you love yourself. Open the door for her. Listen to her. Ladies, respect your husbands. All of you, treat your marriage as permanent. When Christians truly live out a Biblical marriage, it will help our children to know and love Christ.
By the way. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the wedding. It doesn’t have to be pomp and circumstance to be valid.