If Invited To Will And Kate’s Wedding

31 01 2012

Imagine with me: you happen to be in London just before the “big day” and by some weird coincidence, half of Will and Kate’s guests can’t come. The airports all over Europe are shut down and guests can’t find alternate transportation quick enough and so half the seats will be empty in Westminster Abby and half the chairs at the reception at Buckingham palace will be unoccupied. Half the crab and lamb will go to waste; half the dance floor will be empty.

Those who manage royal events are, one by one, having panic attacks. Second-tier guests, the ones who got crossed off when the couple had to narrow the list down to 300, all have their noses out of joint and find excuses to not come. It is the only time they will have the upper hand to snub the couple, and they do. Will and Kate look at each other, shrug and say, “Just go out and find some people.” Looking out the window, one can see the well-wishers lining the streets; no-one would say no and would be crazy if they did; it might be fun! And this is how you get invited: one of 150 gold lettered invitations.

What does one do in this situation? It is just hours before the wedding and no time to find that perfectly suitable outfit for such a classy affair. Those who served you the invitation say, “Just do the best you can.” Nothing is open in London so you chase back to your hostel, dig through your bags and put together your best outfit, and I use the word “best” loosely. It is that wrinkle-free thing that one packs in case you manage to score tickets for a production at the Royal Opera House. It falls into the category of  “semi-dressy” if you throw on some costume jewelry that would never fool anyone. You do your hair, your face, you shine your shoes (which you can’t recall doing before) and this is the best you can do.

You don’t even know how you will describe the day to your friends back home; no one will believe you so you take a zillion pictures as proof. People are so happy. They can’t believe that they, an ordinary person with no connection to anyone close to celebrity, yet here they are throwing down champagne and caviar with the best of them. And, coincidentally, the worst of them because you are pretty sure a few of the people you have mingled with have done something scandalous; yet on this day you are all just lucky, lucky wedding guests having the night of your life at the invitation of the future King of England! (Can you believe it?!?)

From your perspective, it could not be more perfect; you are the beneficiary after all. You aren’t thinking about the guests who could not come, or the guests who refused to come; you are just taking it all in and yes…pinching yourself to see if this is a dream.

As perfect as it is, though, there is this one guest…

You can’t figure him out. He actually, unbelievably, has been complaining throughout the day: if it wasn’t the selection of music (which he found boring), it was the wedding dress which he felt was…boring. If it wasn’t the way the trees lining the aisle blocked his view, it was the way the police weren’t handling the crowds to his liking. If it wasn’t the china on the tables which he felt was a waste of money, it was the “limited” selection of appetizers and the fact that he wasn’t served first. As to the other guests, shouldn’t Will and Kate have shown some discretion as the lady across from him had, as he put it, “Quite the checkered past!”

He didn’t care for the wine, he didn’t think the servers were up to par, he debated whether the band they had chosen was worth the pounds paid, and he picked the speeches apart word-for-word.

You are astounded by it all! He always has something to say, under his breath: some little word of criticism and he takes offense immediately when he feels he isn’t being attended to properly.

As the day goes on, you can see that this man is making things increasingly and noticeably awkward and then…

During a pause in the festivities, Will breaks away for a moment and approaches the man.

“Friend,” He says graciously (but we all know what friend means in this case. It is a term people with manners use when addressing someone who hasn’t displayed friendliness at all), “Friend, how is it that you have shown up to my wedding in this way?”

Wouldn’t you know, the man is suddenly speechless; his face turns red. He can’t put together a sentence but sputters awkwardly. He has never really been called out (as is usually the situation with individuals like this) and now he really has no defense for his appalling behavior.

“Did you do something to deserve my invitation?” Will asks, and the man could only manage a “well, I, uh…”

Will takes another approach, in a slightly firmer tone: “Is there perhaps some notable thing you have done that, if not invited, would have been an obvious slight?”

Everyone knows they are only there because the future King has invited them; it is through no merit of their own.

The man hasn’t behaved like a guest at all; in his arrogance he acted as if he was of greater importance than the others; even (it would appear) more important than the couple. He hasn’t asked himself even once what would please them on their wedding day, what would bring them pleasure, and how he could celebrate their generosity; he didn’t bring anything good with him, not even a smile; not even a complement. He has, instead been self-serving and uptight; a joy-stealer.

“You will leave now as the night is young and my party isn’t nearly over. I am celebrating my bride and I gave you the gift of an opportunity to do so also; and all you have done is made things difficult; you have been harsh to those who have been in charge of my event; you have made my guests feel uncomfortable and unsuitable; you had so much to say and none of it made this day any better. You should leave out the back door, and through the alley where the rubbish is, as this seems to be how you see my party anyway.”

Awkward! The man leaves, out the door into the dark night, away from the candles and the music and the glittering reflection from the crystal and jewels and the sound of laughter. The door closes and you don’t know where he will go from here. Will he write a letter to apologize or will he go to a pub and curse them?

Years later, you are still reminiscing with those who had been invited, the happy memories of the grandest party any of you had ever attended. You re-enact it over more simpler fare, and with a clink of your glasses you can close your eyes and see it all; what a day that was. But, and someone always brings it up, you can also still see the rude guest as well, and it still seems unbelievable, that someone could experience such favor and waste it.

 

This is a reflection of Matthew 22:1-14, a story told by Jesus, descriptive of His lavish love, and His generous invitation and our own response which can go either way.

— Teresa Klassen

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