Television coverage enabled millions of us around the world to watch the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, an event filled with tradition, pageantry and beauty. But no one, I suspect, will argue that this event looked the same as other weddings involving Britain’s royal family we have been privileged to witness. No, this one was multicolored and multicultural, beginning with an African American mother of the bride, stirring music from a black gospel choir and a remarkably talented, 19-year-old African American cellist.
Few had expected this to be the unforgettable highlight: a spellbinding homily, delivered by Michael Bruce Curry of North Carolina, USA, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the first African American to hold this position. When his turn came, Bishop Curry grinned widely and leaned into it, speaking with passion, from the heart, delivering the message we all — royalty and commoner alike — needed to hear. He quoted the Bible; Martin Luther King; French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit Roman Catholic priest, scientist, scholar, and mystic; and Jesus. In this majestic setting, before millions watching from around the world, he preached. Oh, did he preach. Simple, transformative truth. Let’s get out of the way and turn him loose. Here are excerpts:
“There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live. Set me as a seal on your heart, a seal on your arm. For love, it is strong as death.
“Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial.
“And in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives. And it can change this world. If you don’t believe me, just stop and think and imagine. Think and imagine, well? Think and imagine a world where love is the way. Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way.
“When love is the way — unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive, when love is the way. Then no child would go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way. We will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way poverty will become history. When love is the way the earth will become a sanctuary. When love is the way we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way there’s plenty good room, plenty good room for all of God’s children.
“’Cause when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family. When love is the way we know that God is the source of us all. And we are brother and sisters, children of God. Brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family.”