The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was perfectly timed during Easter week.
We had the prince — William, born to the purple. He who will be king. Rich, privileged beyond belief of most of us.
We had Kate, the commoner. The daughter of airline flight attendants who made their fortune in the party planning industry, she herself had worked as a buyer for a clothing chain.
The story: William first saw Kate in a fashion show. She wore a totally see-through dress. Love at first sight. Their on-again, off-again relationship culminated on April 29 at Westminster Abbey.
Kate came to the church as a commoner — just like you and me. When she married her prince, she became “Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus.” While technically not a princess, she is destined to be queen when William ascends the throne, and will no doubt be called “Princess Kate” by most people.
What an allegory for the church.
The paschal mystery of Christ reminds us that, when we were lost in sin, from the time of Adam and Eve, our prince came. He saw us standing there in our sins, basically worse off than just having our underwear showing through a skimpy dress.
And he loved us, all destined to be members of his church: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:16-17).
So the king of creation became a commoner to seek his lowly bride and to make her blood royal by giving his own. “For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. … But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:7-8).
Just like Kate, we each entered the church. Through baptism, we became entitled to claim membership in the heavenly aristocracy. We are, thanks to our prince, adopted children of the King.
And while William and Kate returned to Buckingham Palace for one palatial wedding banquet with selected guests, we are called to the eucharistic feast every day — and especially on the Lord’s Day. We are always invited guests.
Now, just as William and Kate’s relationship has been rocky, so the church has continued to have bumps over the centuries: from frightened disciples hiding in the Upper Room, thinking the risen Lord was a ghost, down to the broken relationships with other Christian churches that exist to this day. And, on more personal levels, each of us manages to trip over our gown several times a day due to sins and all manner of less-than-noble actions.
Yet God still loves us. Christ still offers himself to us. The Spirit still waits to guide us down the aisle toward heaven, where we — the church — will be revealed as “the spotless bride” of Revelation.
Christ, the king of all and heir to everything, became a commoner for us. He left the Father’s house, to “become a man like us.” He came seeking, not a princess, but the lowly and humble of the world so that they could become heirs to glory like him.
To prove it, he died, and rose, in a garden.
Now that’s the real fairy tale wedding. We live it every day. The Easter season, which lasts until Pentecost Sunday (June 12), just hangs out the royal pageantry for us a little bit more.