Some internet grumpiness about the royal wedding can be found at Ekklesia: grrr, growl, grizzle, grinch (H/T Clayboy and EChurch Blog both of whom direct us to good things in the wedding). One of the Ekklesia grumps is by a Kiwi correspondent, Sande Ramage. Well, each makes a point, and each point is part of needed ongoing debate in any democratic society where church and state collide, whether in formal establishment mode or otherwise. But are some points being missed by these e-correspondents?
It's all very well having a bash at monied, titled people, for example, especially if in military attire, but has any society ever escaped having an elite and a portion of that elite tied up in its armed forces? I do not recall Soviet Russia getting on top of the problem (remember those special shops for Communist Party hierarchy and the dachas ("second homes") the leadership class enjoyed?). My understanding of Mao's China is that he attempted to get on top of the problem with periodic purges ("class cleansing" we could call it) which involving slaughtering the odd million or three of real live human beings. But, the reply might be made, couldn't the UK be more egalitarian like, say the USA or Australia or New Zealand? To which the answer is 'Yes, of course, come and join us!' Lots of people have left the UK to forge a new and egalitarian life in new lands. Presumably most of those who have not left are comfortable with the class structure in the UK. Certainly the great throng of flag waving Brits who crowded the Mall and pressed against the gates of Buckingham Palace did not look like they were uncomfortable with the nature of British society (let alone forced to offer mass support for the current regime by state apparatchiks)!
It is possible, is it not, that it is a good thing if the very top of the social tree of a society is tied into the church, embued with an ethic of community service, and constrained by constitutional law to exercise power with gentle discretion? Even better if that social tree tip is wealthy enough not to be tempted by bribery and corruption?
The wedding in one aspect was a re-visioning of the tie between sovereign and God. The power of the sovereign (such as it is in a constitutional monarchy) is not absolute power but a gift from God. To that same God the future sovereign came with his future wife (and, conversely, an ordinary citizen of a state with an established church but no compulsion to worship came with her future husband) to seek God's blessing, not to command it. The splendour of the occasion was tinged with humility, not tainted with tyranny.
The way this re-visioning took place happened also to be a marvellous witness to the word and power of Christ expressed through the genius of Anglican liturgy. In a truly egalitarian society in a republican state there would never be a wedding broadcast to two billion people. Would Christ be pleased with this event as a testimony to him?
Would Christ be disappointed that it has turned out that the plainness of Cranmer's approach to liturgy is particularly well suited to colourful pageantry, the varied tonality of English accents, and the splendour of English musical composition (Parry, Rutter, etc)?
(And, noticing this post at Cranmer's Curate, would St Paul be disappointed?)
You be the judge!