Sunday, May 1, 2011

Royal Wedding: The Scripture Reading and Prayer

Kate Middleton’s brother, James Middleton, read the only Scripture reading during the Royal Wedding. Prince William and Kate Middleton chose the royal wedding reading after spending time with the clergy in preparation for the ceremony. And they chose to have it read in modern, gender-inclusive American English, from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. It’s a great reading about being transformed, love being genuine, and, as James Middleton read on Friday, it urges the royal couple to “associate with the lowly.” Reading the Scripture from the American NRSV may have been a bit controversial with Church traditionalists, including The Prince of Wales who is the Patron of the King James Bible Trust and is known to be a passionate advocate for the "poetry and cadence" of the old Authorized Version. Prince Charles supported this year's 400th anniversary celebration of the King James Bible and even recorded this video reading of John 14 in the KJV. So while it may have been a bit controversial, it was certainly the right decision. When Scripture is read, it should be clear and understandable (See: "There's a lot to be said for clarity" by Ken Symes.) This reading at the royal wedding sounded relevant to Prince William and Kate Middleton, and to all of us as well.

James Middleton reading ScriptureRomans 12:1-2, 9-18

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Truly a great passage of Scripture that gives us all a lot to think about, to experience and to live. I don’t recall ever hearing it read at a wedding before, but it was great. I’m presently updating an Internet resource I authored a while ago for couples who are getting married: Bible Readings for Weddings. Please feel free to direct anyone you know who is getting married to this link.

image-1-for-royal-wedding-wills-and-kate-tie-the-knot-in-westminster-cathedral-gallery-785155735The Royal Wedding also included a prayer written by Will and Kate. Such a prayer is typically included in the Anglican wedding ceremony, but it was refreshing to hear a couple write something new and fresh in place of the traditional prayer for families.

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.

All in all, I must say I was impressed by the Royal Wedding. It was uplifting and inspirational. In the midst of all the pomp and circumstance of the event, I just wanted to highlight the great Scripture reading chosen by Prince William and Kate Middleton as well as the great prayer which they wrote together. I hope they will be true to this Scripture and prayer. May God bless them.


  1. Great job, Ken. Thanks for putting this together. I was curious about the Scripture reading. Hey, I checked out your link to your Squidoo article. Great stuff! For sure, I will recommend it to anyone I know getting married this summer.

  2. I got up early and did the treadmill while I watched the wedding. I thought the readings and the music were right on. The various ministers kept mentioning the reason for marriage as described in the Bible as they cut to pictures of Sir Elton John and his husband- wife. I couldn't help but wonder what was going through their minds? Kate and William's personnel prayer and the hymn they choose on leaving the church were highlights. Also can't help but wonder if they are regular church goers or if it is all part of the process of being a Royal. Kate's brother did a great job of the reading. All in all it was uplifting. Couldn't happen in the States or Canada without being marred by protesters, although I am sure there were some being kept at arms length.

  3. I loved the word of God preached across the Nations everywhere that watched. I loved the fact that James Middleton read it with such conviction and I'm sure there is a preacher in him there somewhere. What a great choice for reading. I to loved the panning whilst reading to Elton and his partner and also to Charles and Camilla. I cried at the destruction of family for the sake of self and the vows that are made to God. We are all weak and in need of a Savior. I too pray that William and Kate are Church goer's and it wasn't just a show at an appropriate time where we do try to appear Christlike.

  4. The Romans 12 was a great reading for a wedding--something different from the usual 1Cor.13 reading, and which I probably wouldn't have picked. It was read so well.

  5. Great comments, guys. It's also great to be seeing so many visitors to this post. I'm happy to help anyone trying to find that Scripture reading from the royal wedding :)

  6. I was very impressed with the wedding! - The scripture reading was outstanding! - and James Middleton is to be congratulated on his reading of it! We sure need to pray for this couple!
    that they may be blessed and be an outstanding example to the nation! - they have made a good start!
    david Peach

  7. Thanks for posting this Scripture reading and blogging about it. I did wonder where it came from when I watched the wedding. We're getting ready for my cousin's wedding so I wanted to suggest this Scripture reading. I also found your Squidoo article on the top ten Bible readings for weddings. Thanks so much :)

  8. Lot of feel good comments to ease the consciences of all.  Interestingly no one bothered to mention that this wonderful royal couple co-habited for a couple of years prior to, just a modest guesstimate.  Before the blog master or anyone else accuses me of being judgmental do we only read feel good scriptural passages and ignore what doesn't suit us or that which happens to reveal our own character?

    This idea of a good start that the couple initiated when did it begin before or after the ceremony?

    Let's look at the cost of said wedding, estimates from $32,000,000.00 to upwards of $70,000,000.00 how sad. No wonder this world is in such sad state of affairs not only financially as well as spiritually.  And we all get excited because scripture was read at the wedding.  We all need a reality check.

  9. Gee, Andy, let us know how you really feel ;)

    What I did here, Andy, was provide a place for people searching on the Internet to come and find where that Scripture reading was from -- it wasn't clearly announced in the royal wedding. Several hundred people Googling for that Scripture reading ended up here at Samaritan XP. They found out where the Scripture was from, read a few positive, uplifting comments about that Scripture and they were directed to my article Bible Readings for Weddings by Ken Symes which walks couples through ten great Scripture readings they could use in their own weddings.

    As for any well wishes I may have expressed to Will and Kate, I think they are appropriate. What you called the "feel good Scriptural passage" tells us to "rejoice with those who rejoice," and cautions us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought as well as more directly saying, "Do not think you are superior." As Christians, I think we should rejoice with those who are marrying and mourn with those grieving at funerals. To do otherwise would call our kindness into question.

    If you think I got carried away, too much in awe with the splendor of the royal wedding, my sound judgment impaired, then I would encourage you to read Psalm 45. You're not going to believe it, but it's called The Royal Wedding Psalm! And I'm a pretty sober realist with regard to Will and Kate compared to how this psalmist describes the royal wedding he attended.

     1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme    as I recite my verses for the king;    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
     2 You are the most excellent of men    and your lips have been anointed with grace,    since God has blessed you forever.
    7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;    therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions    by anointing you with the oil of joy. 8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;    from palaces adorned with ivory    the music of the strings makes you glad. 9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women;    at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. 
    10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:    Forget your people and your father’s house. 11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;    honor him, for he is your lord.
    13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber;    her gown is interwoven with gold. 14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;    her virgin companions follow her—    those brought to be with her. 15 Led in with joy and gladness,    they enter the palace of the king.
     17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;    therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

    Wow, talk about " feel good comments to ease the consciences of all," this writer was really taken away by the royal wedding ;)  Commentator Derek Kidner said, "This wedding benediction is as dazzling as the occasion it graces. The outward splendour of the event is evoked in every line."  In contrast, I just wanted to highlight the great Scripture reading chosen by Prince
    William and Kate Middleton as well as the great prayer which they wrote
    together. You'll have to admit I was pretty modest in my praise when compared to Psalm 45, but since you reject the sentiment of my blog posting, to be consistent, Andy, I recommend that you rip the gushingly sentimental Psalm 45 out of your Bible.

  10. P.S. Andy, I don't know why you are so troubled about the cost of the royal wedding. The British monarchy is wealthy. You say it cost between $32 to 70 million. Is the economy better if this $32+ million continues to sit in a vault or if it is spent buying goods and services?

    It's not a trick question, just simple economics. $32+ million being spent is a nice boost to the economy, benefiting all sorts of people. Leaving it in a vault benefits no one.

  11. It may very well be called the Royal Wedding Psalm, of a king to a princess. 

    Is Psalm 45 actually a wedding that happened?Some commentators incline to the view that the psalm is entirely Messianic. That portions of it are, there can be no doubt. Verses 6 and 7 are quoted in Heb. 1:8, 9 as the words God the Father addressed to the Son. Verse 2 has also been declared to be Messianic: “The divine beauty of the character of Christ, … of whom David, seeing Him in prophetic vision, said, ‘Thou art fairer than the children of men.'  This statement also sets forth the fact that David was the author of the psalm. Besides we are getting off track.  All I did is make a personal observation, which by your own admission you encourage to stimulate thought and comment.

  12. "TROUBLED" is inadequate to describe my disdain in justifying such an exorbitant cost when such monies could be well spent in freeing the slave children from the chocolate harvesting in the Ivory Coast or used for advertising against the pursuit of purchasing chocolate products to satisfy our sweet tooth.

  13. You are reading some very confused commentators who don't understand Messianic psalms. There is no such thing as an "entirely Messianic" psalm. Instead what happened is that psalms written to the current Davidic king often took up themes that could only be fulfilled by that one promised to come in the line of David, the true Messiah. It's almost like they're saying "Could this son/king be the one to fulfill the promises made to David?" The verses of such psalms not fulfilled by that king, thus, become Messianic.

    The psalm is clearly written FOR a king not BY a king, "My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king" (v1). Plus the superscription says it was written by a son of Korah, a Levitical priest. It makes no sense to suggest that David is the author. We do not know which king it was written for, but we can guess after it was sung to that king it was saved and sung again the next time there was a royal wedding -- thus it was collected into the Psalter.

    This king has an international reputation and he is marrying a foreign princess (vv. 10,12).  He already has a collection of concubines. His new bride is decked out in gold from Ophir. Wouldn't you agree that's it's pretty hard to believe these statements are describing the Messiah?

    I think Psalm 45 is truly fascinating. It reflects the same kind of awe that millions of us experienced while watching the royal wedding of Will and Kate. It uses that awe and inspiration to make bold claims for the king, so bold they can only be fulfilled by the true Messiah.

    Back to our point, Andy. You said of my blog post: "Lot of feel good comments to ease the consciences of all.  Interestingly
    no one bothered to mention that this wonderful royal couple co-habited
    for a couple of years..." My response is YES we celebrated the wedding of a prince to a princess, we rejoiced with those who were rejoicing. My goal in the blog posting was to highlight the great Scripture reading chosen by Prince William and
    Kate Middleton as well as the great prayer which they wrote together. I'm very happy that many people searching for these verses on the Internet found them here at SamaritanXP.

    If that's bothersome to you, Andy, then don't just criticize my post, go ahead and rip Psalm 45 out of your Bible because it is written along the same lines, and to a king who didn't just cohabitate with his future bride, he slept with many concubines! ;)

  14.  Awesome ! That was great wedding and God has poured out his blessing  upon them through reading scripture and prayer....

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