Two Young People Fell In Love and We All Showed Up
During what was undoubtedly the wedding for all ages, that of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the stand out moment for me was Bishop Michael Curry’s barnstorming sermon on the power of love.
It was a quite brilliant 14 minute sermon that not only celebrated the blessings and joys of romantic love, but focused on the redemptive power of love, something the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr spoke about when he said: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way.”
Bishop Curry emphasised the transformative power of love in a wider, more political, less intimate context. Nonetheless it is also a love catapulted from the same source, the heart, as cupid’s romantic arrows of love.
When he referred to the terrible state of the world you couldn’t help but recall the knife crime epidemic in London and the all too regular gun massacres in America. He asked us to pause for a moment and imagine a world where love replaced hate and love was the dominant driving force for all of us.
Just to drive home the point he mentioned love not once, not twice, but an enormous 58 times in just 14 minutes!! The Bishop was on a mission and he was aiming to get us to release and share the love in our hearts and minds. He spoke of the love God wants us all to have for our fellow human beings, not just those we love in the romantic sense of love or because they are family. That’s easy. This is the love that means we care for and have empathy for one another, be they strangers, friends and family alike. This is the kind of love that stops people from going around killing others.
At a time when people are exercised over finding solutions to knife crime and gun crime on both sides of the pond, rather than simply throwing money at the problem, imprisoning people, threatening longer sentences, I would argue that the Bishop provided an alternative, feasible solution. Focus not on hate and punishment, more on love. Use the burning fire of hatred of what’s going wrong in our world to find and deliver long-term, peaceful solutions that stem from a place of love.
Young people and older alike might just discover for themselves the redemptive power of love if they were to give love, give God a chance, for “God is love” as the Bishop and bible frequently points out.
Imagine a world where more young people and more parents attend church so that they can discover for themselves what the Bishop meant by the redemptive power of love. This aspect of his sermon might have sounded trite and overly simple to some listeners, but it was a lot deeper than that. Bear in mind, church is not just about grand buildings like St George’s Chapel, Windsor, that hosted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, but it is essentially, as stated in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” In other words, where two or three people gather in the Lord’s name he is present with them.
A Balm in Gilead
Somehow Bishop Curry found a way to segue way a link into slavery. I interpreted that as a deliberate riposte to the infamous Kanye West TMZ interview on 1st May 2018.
He referred to “a balm in Gilead to heal”, recalling a line from the bible [Jeremiah 8:22 “Isn’t there a balm in the land of Gilead? Isn’t there a Doctor there? So why aren’t the hurts of my people healed?”] and an old African-American spiritual sung by slaves. The point he was making was that in spite of being enslaved, some of these slaves didn’t allow any entirely natural and understandable feelings of bitterness and hate to prevent them having love for their fellow man. They had a choice between love and hate and some chose to respond from a place of love. Love the sinner. Hate the sin. All this was not easy of course but was possible regardless of the fact that slave owners clearly had no love or respect for them as slaves. If they could show love for their captors in such horrendous circumstances, who are we in our lives to allow everyday circumstances to prevent love shining through?
Ironically, the day after the wedding Channel screened the first episode of Series 2 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘, which is set in “the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the United States.”
The Marriage Vows
Statistics show that the best outcomes in life, for couples and children alike, are likely to arise, not outside of, but from within the institution of marriage with all its attendant benefits of a shared life, shared values and the equilibrium provided by a mother and father’s support in a child’s life.
As the Bishop so memorably put it, “two young people fell in love and we all showed up.” Why? Everyone loves a great love story. People love weddings. More than that though, the vast interest in the wedding was symbolic of the importance, respect and above all, love that the majority still have for the institution of marriage. If it wasn’t valued we’d have ignored it, but 1.9 billion watching all around the world and 100,000 well wishers on the streets of Windsor didn’t. We all showed up.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
Royal Family photo: Credit to Alexi Lubomirski.
- The text and video of Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon in full – Source BBC, 19th May 2018
- The Long-term Benefits of Marriage – Evidence from the UK, Harry Benson, Institute for Family Studies 30th January 2018
- Marriage benefits: The research – Harry Benson, The Marriage Foundation, July 2017
- Marriage Play – Review, 14th August 2015