Kate posted links to this yesterday and I think she was beginning to wonder if anyone was interested. She need not have. Today the internet has gone bonkers over it, in its usual frenzied way and she is the news-worthy vicar of the week, which is a good result in itself, keeping the usual embezzlers and philanderers out of the press, and giving the church a rare good news story on the clergy front.
Inevitably, then, the backlash has followed, with various individuals lining up to ping epithets like "irreverent" at her, and explaining how they like a good laugh as much as the next man but apparently not within 10 miles of a church, since this is "not an appropriate moment in the liturgy" and other such important-sounding things. Tomorrow there will be a rash of newspaper columns shouting about it and telling us that this is why the Church of England is doomed. Apparently someone has even told Mrs B that this proves that women should never become bishops (presumably because there would be too much danger of having fun).
Always Hope wants everyone to know, then, that there is nothing bad here, and a battery of things that are good, nay brilliant. To begin: this is completely appropriate to the liturgy. What better point in the service to do this than the one where the congregation inevitably start cheering and the groom already expects a quick snog, as we see here? A bit of choreographed waving and wiggling is hardly going to detract any further from the dignity of the moment. And in case the critics (mostly clergy, who perhaps ban kissing in their services too) hadn't noticed, the liturgy is a celebration of love, human as well as divine, the clue being in the word "celebration".
And that is the crux here. People go to weddings to have fun and celebrate the two principals. Most have no great affection for the religious bit, and churchpeople who insist on turning it into a po-faced ritual which apparently has nothing to do with the rest of the day are only making it worse. The average wedding guest endures the service in the hope that it will be over quickly so the good bit can start, and so is deprived of the chance of celebrating the third person in the contract - God. (Who, we can assume, is not as easily offended as some of his servants).
What Kate has done here is to give a couple back some ownership of their wedding from a church that has been used to telling people what they want. It worked a hundred, maybe even thirty years ago, but not any more. She's made herself, and the Church of England a tiny bit less irrelevant. Read Andrew Brown today. And she has also sent away a whole crowd of people thinking that the God bit might be worth listening to after all. Read the Richardson's comment underneath their YouTube video: "a fantastic vicar, church and congregation, and a bit of faith!".
That's what mission looks like in unchurched Britain today. Well done Kate.
I just hope nobody ever asks me do this.