Love brings two peo­ple to­gether, much more

The Daily Observer - - NEWS - REV. DAN HANSEN Rev. Dan Hansen, Th.D., M.Div., R. P., serves Zion Evan­gel­i­cal United Church, is an Ad­vanced Can­di­date in Train­ing with the On­tario As­so­ci­a­tion of Jun­gian An­a­lysts, and has a ther­apy prac­tice in Ren­frew.

What we saw as the tele­vi­sion cam­era oc­ca­sion­ally fo­cused on the Royals dur­ing Harry and Meghan’s wed­ding did not show much ex­cite­ment. They looked bored. But then again, a homily is tra­di­tion­ally much shorter than a ser­mon.

The form of the ser­vice was stan­dard, close to what you would find in any Protes­tant church in Canada. In the United Church, we might view the ser­vice as hav­ing a gath­er­ing sec­tion, the hear­ing of the word, the re­sponse (the wed­ding liturgy it­self ), and the send­ing forth, which it did. No smells and bells, how­ever, as some might say in the high Angli­can tra­di­tion.

Mu­sic was a cen­tral part of the liturgy, in­clud­ing the more es­o­teric pro­ces­sional to the tra­di­tional re­ces­sional. The mu­sic helped to hear and know the word of God, although in a much more lib­eral way than many of the 16th-cen­tury re­form­ers had in mind.

With the singing of two well-known and beloved hymns, the con­gre­ga­tion had an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond. This framed the ser­vice within the per­spec­tive that wor­ship is the work of the peo­ple.

The un­ac­com­pa­nied Re­nais­sance motet was a mo­ment of mys­tery and awe. It added to the view that dif­fer­ent styles and ap­proaches to wor­ship mu­sic, when taste­fully cho­sen, ap­pro­pri­ately lo­cated in the liturgy, and well-per­formed, can deepen the wor­ship ex­pe­ri­ence.

A more tra­di­tional as­pect of the ser­vice, which oc­curs af­ter the cer­e­mony, was the wed­ding party sign­ing the church wed­ding reg­istry and le­gal doc­u­ments. Although this took an in­or­di­nate amount of time, with sev­eral pieces of mu­sic planned, it did launch the ca­reer of an as­pir­ing young cel­list. That was a pow­er­ful mo­ment to witness.

Wait­ing for the kiss on the stairs added to the in­creased pub­lic ex­cite­ment, yet it also kept the sen­sual side out­side of the church. How­ever, that was com­pen­sated by the singing of the gospel choir, which was ex­quis­ite and styl­ized, yet equally im­pas­sioned. The back of the nave was the per­fect spot, giv­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate room for move­ment, get­ting out of those con­fin­ing pews.

It would be in­ter­est­ing to have a small group gather to watch the ser­vice, and to talk about it, stop­ping the record­ing when nec­es­sary to do so. I am sure that it would be re­veal­ing to go back and have a look at Charles and Diana’s wed­ding, as well as Wil­liam and Kate’s and make some com­par­isons. Such litur­gi­cal and the­o­log­i­cal anal­y­sis would make for a lively dis­cus­sion.

What unique the­matic threads would be no­ticed re­gard­ing the es­sen­tial el­e­ments of wor­ship – mu­sic, Scrip­ture, lead­er­ship, con­gre­ga­tional in­volve­ment, preach­ing, prayers, and si­lence?

More­over, what do the or­der and con­tent of the wed­ding ser­vice say about the Monar­chy? What do they say about the church? And what do they say about the mil­lions of peo­ple who were watch­ing?

As a pro­fes­sor asked me years ago re­gard­ing a paper I sub­mit­ted, “So what?” I pose a sim­i­lar ques­tion to­day: what was re­ally at stake with this Royal wed­ding? So what?

Per­son­ally, I would say that the ser­vice had much to do with Diana and her legacy. Lady Di was a woman who knew how to love, and to share that love, even in des­per­ate, chal­leng­ing times.

The love that Harry and Meghan em­brace brings to­gether many new strands, some of which be­gan with Diana. Like her, they con­tinue to fol­low their hearts.

The Monar­chy is tobe comm ended for keep­ing pace, sup­port­ing the happy cou­ple, as well as learn­ing how to march to a dif­fer­ent drum­mer.

This past week, re­gard­ing an­other in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship, a fo­cus on love may be a way to keep the north and south of the border to­gether. Dynamics al­ways ex­ist be­hind why peo­ple say what they do. Th­ese may have more to do with the giver than the re­ceiver who is be­ing pro­jected upon. As the Scrip­tures say, “Many wa­ters can­not quench love, nei­ther can floods drown it” (Song of Solomon 8:7).

Bored looks aside, this Royal wed­ding was a pow­er­ful re­minder of how the love of two, in­clud­ing the love each brought into the re­la­tion­ship, can sig­nif­i­cantly in­flu­ence the love of many. Let’s be hope­ful and en­cour­ag­ing.

ALEXI LUBOMIRSKI/KENS­ING­TON PALACE VIA AP

This photo re­leased by Kens­ing­ton Palace on Mon­day May 21, shows an of­fi­cial wed­ding photo of Bri­tain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on the East Ter­race of Wind­sor Cas­tle, Wind­sor, Eng­land, Sat­ur­day May 19.

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