The Royal Wedding, Rowan Williams, and Generosity

Having declined the invitation from a British friend to watch the Royal Wedding live, Mary set the DVR, and we watched the event when we were home during the day.  I was busy with other things, but looked up at several points, for there is something hopeful and compelling about such a pageant.  At the same time, I’d watched Helen Mirren in The Queen the previous week, so I couldn’t help but think of Diana.  You have to wish this couple a happier fate.

What really caught my attention – and we backed this up to hear it again – was the homily delivered by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, after the vows were taken.  The gist of it was, as faith in God or a Higher Power has receded, we do a disservice to our marriage partners by demanding of them a fulfillment another human being cannot provide.

I searched online this morning but could not find the sermon.  I did find this interview with Williams conducted before the ceremony.  The word I most often heard him use was “generosity.”  He hoped that watching this service might renew our sense of generosity to ourselves and to others.  It’s a very nice way to think of the Royal Wedding.

Any priest or minister conducting a wedding is bound to feel a huge sense of privilege.  You’re invited into some intimate places in people’s lives.  You’re invited to take part in a very significant moment, a moment of hope; a moment of affirmation about people’s present and future.  And I’ve felt very privileged to be part of this event for those reasons.  Here are young people sending a message of hopefulness, sending a message of generosity across the world.  And it’s my privilege to be able to bless that in the name of God, to witness it in the name of God, and to send them on their way. – Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury

5 thoughts on “The Royal Wedding, Rowan Williams, and Generosity

  1. I, too, watched the whole pageant during daylight hours with my daughter, a real royal watcher. It was fun and exciting. We ate scones and strawberries and cheered and laughed (the hats, oh, the hats!). But I also was struck by Williams sermon. I found it to be so full of hope. Just a lovely day of good news as opposed to the usual media fodder.


  2. Did Rowan Williams deliver a homily during Kate’s and William’s service? I did not watch every bit of the service and would like to have heard RowanWilliams –beyond his solemnising– is it called that?– of their vows. I did hear and see Rowan Williams do that part. The address I heard though came from someone else.


    • Williams did do a homily after the vows. I was not paying strict attention so I can’t say exactly when in the service. It was not available the next day, and I have not looked recently. Eventually it might show up on Rowan William’s website, and that site may well have a link to email you could use to request it be posted. I have not followed up these leads.


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