A few reflections on the royal wedding, in no particular order – and hoping you might add yours…

Noticeable to me was that essentially the liturgical grammar was: come in and pretty much one of the first things that happens – they are married. I’m used to a primary liturgical grammar of gather – listen – respond. Ordination happens after the readings and sermon; confirmation happens after the readings and sermon; … I think that the best dynamic is for the vows to happen after the reading(s) and sermon…

The rite used (series 1), like BCP1928 and BCP1662 does not mention readings nor sermon (unless there is communion). Let’s not get caught up in whether having readings, sermon, (hymns!) is a breach of the rubrics, but if these are inserted would you put most of the stuff after the actual marriage …

What does it say that the family of the supreme governor of the Church of England do not use the contemporary rite? For many people watching, this was their only, or one of their very few, views of Christian worship. What does it say that the language is primarily not contemporary English…

In two decades of ordained ministry I have never used anything but the contemporary wedding rites.

Will there be an increase now in request for a non-contemporary wedding rite? “Such lovely sounding language… not sure what it all meant…” (Did people think that the both in … “..Both our hearts and bodies…” referred to William and Kate…)

Full text of the service is here.

Those who advocate for 1662 BCP will have missed the carnal lusts of brute beasts, “and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.”

Some are wondering if there may be an increase in church attendance? Increase in interest in Anglicanism? Are we strategically prepared for this?

With a woman as supreme governor of the church, it was also good to glimpse a woman priest – no women participated in the service’s leadership…

Those who advocate and practise having a multiplicity of presiders at services may now point to the wedding service’s practice for affirmation…

The well-read reading from Romans 12:1-2,9-18 was using the NRSV translation. Yay! Romans 12:9-21 is in the NZ Anglican list of suggested readings, and Romans 12: 1,2,9-13 is in the CofE suggested list. It was a good choice. Will it be used more often… There was no introduction where it was from, nor a concluding sentence or response.

The sermon. Mainly read, not rehearsed enough for such a significant occasion? Good length (7 1/2 minutes). No mention of the reading from Paul? And were we praying the prayer written by Kate and William? I thought he was reading out a prayer they had written so that he could comment on it and we would pray it later… When he was saying “I pray” he was glancing around, and clearly glancing to and addressing the couple. Suddenly he concluded “And we all say Amen” (Note, his address was not identical to the printed text.)

I believe more could have been/should have been/could be made of the prayer the couple wrote themselves:

God our Father, we thank you for our families;
for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life
and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer.
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

A nice touch was quoting from Saint Catherine of Sienna at the start of the sermon. It would have been her feast day in the Church of England (and elsewhere), had it not been Friday in the Octave of Easter/Easter Friday/Friday in Easter Week. This year the feast of Catherine of Siena is omitted. Was the feast day part of the reason for choosing that date? (Often some Anglicans will reserve the title “Saint” for New Testament figures ie. St Paul, St Mark, but not St Catherine of Sienna – certainly that would be the case in official texts).

There was a lot of online confusion about the two sisters (“nuns”) sitting next to William and Kate. Some thought they were from the Community of the Holy Name who have a community at Lambeth Palace. But I don’t know why they would have pride of place, then, say over Archbishop Rowan’s wife. I think they were Sisters of the Church. Clearly many were surprised that there are Anglican religious (“can Anglican nuns marry?” was a tweet I saw more than once). ‘Aussie Pommie’ Sister Judith CSC is the Abbey’s Chaplain. Sister Annaliese CSC was covering when Sr Judith was poorly, but both are there now. Their community is at Ham Common.

I thought it a particularly positive Anglican touch to have the happily married Archbishop receive the vows of the couple who then sat alongside two overtly vowed to lifelong celibacy.

Important to keep one eye on tweets etc. to realise where many people are at. The sanctuary was called the stage. A NZ TV commentator called the sermon a talk. And was surprised at the amount of “religiosity”. I did enjoy the tweets about one of the nuns wearing reebok classics! And, “Maybe they’re undercover nuns.” – “With ninja star crosses.” “DEFINITELY Mi5”. Some thought the nuns were not dressed for the occasion – I guess they don’t know about the vow of poverty either… I’d be more interested in why Archbishop Rowan continues to use the same barber as Albus Dumbledore does… Online messages: The ABC should have gone to the barber shop. His beard was badly in need of a trimming as well as his eyebrows. He should be embarrassed looking like that at such an important day. He shouldn’t have done the wedding if he was going to look like a slob. A bit like another thing of his I can think of that no one in England appears to have the brass to say to the ABC is not so good…

There was no kiss in the service… I will be surprised if that addition to the rite is abandoned

A lot was made in the media that there was no “obey” for Kate. NB “obey” wasn’t removed – it wasn’t there in the 1928 proposed BCP rite, and would have to be inserted into contemporary vows. Altering the church’s vows is normally not allowed in Anglican churches. More interesting to me is the reflection that Queen Elizabeth has vowed to obey Prince Philip…

“Blest pair of sirens…” – OK, put your hand up if you know what that is all about?

Whether or not there would be communion was discussed here. By the time I started watching the service I knew there would not be, but as the congregation gathered I realised why not – with the complex (confused/confusing?) CofE rules on who can communicate, etc. it would have been embarrassing…

The Abbey’s icons of Jesus and Mary featured strongly on the TV broadcast – an interesting moment was the focusing on Mary’s icon in the singing of the anthem acknowledging the Queen…

Many appreciated the indoor out door flow. If you can’t marry outside amongst the trees bring the trees inside.

I appreciate that Kate put her veil up early in the service. If there is a veil that is my practice – I do not like people making vows to each other with a veil between them…

And don’t miss this clip from after the wedding service:

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