Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Word Went to the Ends of the Earth

This was a remarkable moment. James Middleton--brother of Prince William's bride, Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, future Queen of Great Britain, Canada, and many other nations--read the word of God to a listening world, and read them well.

I expect that, given the occasion, he received professional training in how to deliver the reading. He looked seriously and intently at the assembled guests. He enunciated clearly. He paced himself and paused at the right places and for appropriate lengths. He emphasized the right words with understanding and care for the effect of the words.

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 honor. 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.
He is reading Romans 12:1-2, 9-18 in the New Revised Standard Version. He is 24 years old.

It is worthy of note that the future king sat under that reading (did he choose it himself?) and under the following sermon by the Bishop of London. It is not a Christ-centered sermon. He speaks of our life "spiritually evolving" leading to "a creative future for the human race." But that sort of vague nonsense tends to float away like so much seasonal debris.

He speaks of being "converted to the promise of the future" by various means which do not apparently include the person of Christ the Savior. He exhorted them to Christian ethics without mentioning Christ except as an example to be followed.

He closed his sermon by quoting the prayer that the couple themselves wrote, a prayer that closed with "we ask this in the spirit of Jesus Christ."

The Lord can use the weakest note from the most poorly fashioned trumpet to rally a soul to life. Here in this service of worship that was witness across the globe, and that had the full attention of the future king and queen of Great Britain we heard the pure word of God and a wobbly sermon. May the Lord give the increase.

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