Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Weekend of Royal and Sacred Ceremonies

Our view of the festivities from Green Park.
As I plunked away on an out-of-tune piano before the Sacrament was blessed in East-London accents this afternoon, I couldn't help but compare the humble circumstances and environs of this sacred ordinance to that I had just witnessed two days before.

We arrived back from The Netherlands this week (will post on my amazing experience searching for and finding Medieval ancestors in Elburg, Gelderland shortly) just in time to host friends in from Copenhagen for the Royal Wedding.

Before setting off to sell Brittany's amazing Royal Wedding souvenirs on Portobello Road, we watched the ceremony on the big screens with 25,000ish of our closest stranger-friends in Green Park.  I was expecting fan fare and a beautiful dress, but the ceremony itself and the love between the couple has transformed me, a died-in-the-wool constitutional (that's the written kind, thank you very much) republicanist, into a true fan of "Wills and Kate."

I was moved by the ceremony, and felt what I would call the Spirit throughout.  I enjoyed most the prayer written by the couple, simply but elegantly asking the Father to help them devote their time and talents to the good of their people, a reminder to me that in most ways their lives are no longer their own.  The vows made it clear that marriage was considered holy, and Catherine promised to love William and stay true "for richer, for poorer," and he to share "all his worldly goods" with Catherine.

Then there were the themes of the bishop of London's speech which I enjoyed--about service, about the holy purposes of marriage, and about how one's life work should be to transform rather than reform one's spouse.  "The more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves."  The purposes of marriage were to bear children and to give place for the God-given desires that love produces.

As I watched with my husband, I felt the need to be a better and more service-minded wife, and was grateful to have watched two people in love get married in beautifully simple fashion (never mind the 250,000 pound dress and 1,000+ guests!) to similar guidance and counsel that we were given just two years ago in the Washington, DC temple.

Fast forward two days.  I was again feeling the Spirit, but in a small building in Northeast London.  There was no trained choir of little boys, and I was on an out-of-tune piano.  The hall was not grand nor opulently decorated.  Yet the second counselor of our own bishopric who began the fast and testimony meeting was no less eloquent nor powerful in his extemporaneous address.  The Sacrament represented Christ's broken body and blood spilt for me.  Through it, I was slowly becoming a better person.

I'm sure the royal wedding took months of planning and rehearsing to get just right, the speech written and re-written by the bishop of London, and the music carefully selected and rehearsed ad nauseam by those sweet little boys.  It showed Britain at its finest, and I felt it.  William and Catherine's wedding was a sacred ceremony.

Yet I was pleased that with much less planning, the Spirit was able to abide with a few in a humble chapel on the other side of town in much less grand yet similarly sacred ceremony.  It was a reminder that sanctity does not require beauty nor planned eloquence, but I sure don't mind enjoying it when the two coincide!

Us and the Jepsens.  Brittany and Paul's style landed them in and CNN!


  1. Loved your comments -- agree completely.

  2. When I first saw this picture I thought ' I have seen that face before' and couldn't place it. And then I thought....well maybe its that one girl from that one blog I follow and I then I was like Nah and can't be. Thats pretty awesome. I love your friends your shot was also on The Today Show as well. I have it recorded. Just a tidbit.

  3. Jess - hey there. Yes, this is me (on the left, not in the hat). Can you send me the link/clip to laupdike at gmail dot com? That would be great! Thanks! LaU