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Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding, Stoicism And The Great Wedding In Heaven

How I enjoyed watching on television the wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton!

The sight of thousands of people lining the route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey raised my emotions, and the cheers as first the Groom, then the rest of the Royal Family, then the Bride, at that stage still considered a commoner, made their short car journey to the Abbey.
And as the Groom placed his ring on her finger, the Bride's status changed from a commoner to the Duchess of Cambridge and a Royal.
Endless commentaries were given for Catherine's dress, comments like "fantastic!" and "Spectacular!" Everyone loved it. Catherine herself grew up to be startlingly beautiful, and little wonder that she was the perfect fit for the Groom who will one day become King of England.
Equally impressive were the crowds who attended the pageantry. Estimates reckon around two million spectators gathered in Central London for the occasion, a small proportion of the two billion who watched it on television globally.
What I loved about the whole spectacle was how the crowds lining the route cheered vocally and allowed their emotions to show amidst the sea of Union Jack flags waving in the mild air.
I believe too that the prayers of many were answered when not a drop of rain fell throughout the whole occasion. During the last three of four days preceding the Wedding, the Met Office warned that a scattering of heavy showers, in places even accompanied by thunder, would attempt to put a damper on the celebrations. But even if that had been the case, I doubt that it would have spoiled much, with the exception that the journey from the Abbey to the Palace would have had the newlyweds in a closed-in coach instead of the open-top one which made the couple clearly visible to the bystanders and TV audience alike.
And how the spectators cheered as the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were driven back to the Palace!

High emotions! Does this make Britain less stoic? No, I believe it does not. Stoicism is a reaction, in contrast to panic, in the face of a crisis, whether it's an airline in distress or financial difficulties. Stoicism is about getting to grips in solving the problem instead of running away, flustering or getting tied in knots with panic. The 33 Colombian miners who were trapped for six weeks in a sealed chamber underground were a good example of stoicism. They prayed daily and waited patiently for rescue to begin. The South American disaster was also proof that stoicism is not uniquely British.
As stoicism being uniquely British is the opinion of some newspaper journalists which at times really ruffle my feathers!
Amanda Platell and Melanie Phillips, both Daily Mail columnists, have written articles about "the decline of stoicism in Britain" since the death of Princess Diana in 1997. According to Platell and Phillips, the British have become a sentimental, mawkish, weepy and emotional society, with Phillips adding of the decline of masculinity.
To them, that's bad. Is It? Does it really weaken masculinity?
If so, then the Lord Jesus Christ was a wimp. He wept in public on two separate, recorded occasions. The first was over the fate of Jerusalem, the second over the death of Lazarus.
But it would also mean that today's pageantry would have been different if Platell and Phillips had their way.
Instead of cheering crowds, the route would have been lined with an orderly crowd of stiffly dressed men and women, gently clapping without a single voice heard as the Royal procession passed by. The Queen would have looked ahead sternly instead of waving to the crowds and the newly weds would have also been concealed inside a coach, almost oblivious to the sound of clapping outside. In short, the day's event would have resembled more like Remembrance Sunday than a wedding.
As it was the crowds expressed their emotions of excitement and joy without reserve, as it should be. A wedding is a joyous occasion, a cause for celebration.
Having been to a wedding reception in the Middle East myself, I can assure that the Bible indeed sees a wedding as a joyous occasion. The wedding at Cana was attended by Jesus Christ himself, who turned water into wine, not wine into water as these columnists believe should have been done.
In the Book of Revelation, John gives us a glimpse of the unrestrained emotions of rapturous joy as the Bride is presented to the Groom.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and
wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and praise!"
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honour and glory and power,
for ever and ever."
The four living creatures said, "Amen",
and the elders fell down and worshipped.

Revelation 5:11-14.

And also this:

Then what I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like a roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For the our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and the bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear."
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Then the angel said to me, "Write:
'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."

Revelation 19:6-9.

The heavenly Bride of Christ is the Church. We are the Bride of Jesus Christ if we trust in him to save us. On that wedding day in heaven emotions will run high. No British stiff upper lip then!
The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was a joyous occasion. Everyone there had the right to shout with joy!
After all, in heaven, it would be impossible to hold under restraint any emotion then!
Wishing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge a happy future together.

1 comment:

  1. The Royal wedding was a very special occasion that gave people a chance to express their emotions. God gave us emotions, so presumably He meant us to express them, although not to be ruled by them. As you say, Jesus showed His emotions, and that helps us to trust that He understands how we feel, and that He shares our joys and sorrows.