By Mary Summerbell
I had no intention of watching the royal wedding. None at all. Just not interested. But I fell asleep watching the news, woke up in the wee hours of the morning, and the wedding was on. I thought, “What the heck. It’s history. I’ll give it a quick peek.” Was I surprised. Impressed. Inspired. Not by the pomp and pageantry and celebrities, or the finery of the bride and groom and guests, or the behind-the-scenes minutia trivia. It was the minister’s sermon that gobsmacked me. Me, the anti-organized-religion chick. I shocked myself by my response to his words.
He spoke first the usual, beautiful wedding words, and typical wedding blessings – “share their joy and celebrate their love… faithfulness and trust….love, comfort, honor, protect.” He mentioned the “delight and tenderness of sexual union,” getting most everyone’s attention. And then he shifted smoothly to a deeper tone, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King: “We must discover the power of love…and when we do that we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way….There’s power in love. Not just in its romantic forms but any form, any shape of love….There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can…to lift up and liberate…to show us the way to live…..real power. Power to change the world.”
Then he spoke of “old slaves in America’s antebellum south who explained the dynamic power of love…to transform.” In captivity they sang about a healing balm to make things right, to make the wounded whole – Jesus and his teachings. As a minister he naturally sees love in a religious context – that is, God is love. Many people see it that way. I believe that love is the healing balm, and Jesus just one example of that love. I feel that everyone can have faith in the universal healing power of love, and not call it God. I’m not comfortable with dramatic and emphatic preaching styles. I do better without the righteousness and justice ever flowing stuff. But, I heartily agreed with much of what this man was saying.
Considering Great Britain’s centuries of colonization, the suffering and death in slavery and apartheid, it was difficult to believe my ears – that a black American preacher would, even with the greatest subtlety, even obliquely – speak such truth at, of all occasions, a royal wedding. Michael Curry, grandson of slaves, first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, in his mere mention of slavery, most certainly reminded the world of British historic offenses against humanity. Clearly many in the congregation didn’t know how to take such honesty. While Prince William smirked, the king and queen, lips pursed, tried not to squirm in their seats.
In bringing up this painful past Curry persisted in his theme that all can be redeemed by love – repeatedly, emphatically emphasizing the redeeming power of unselfish love. “Love can change lives,” Curry says. “Love can change the world…Imagine a world where love is the way.” Imagine homes, families, neighborhoods, communities, governments and nations where love is the way. “When love is the way, then no child will ever go to bed hungry in this world ever again….Poverty will become history.” As will war. And “that’s a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family.”
He spoke of harnessing fire – one of the greatest discoveries in human history. Teilhard de Chardin, said “If humanity…ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.” I about fell off my chair. Here was the whole core and crux of New Age philosophy coming out of the mouth of an Episcopalian minister, by way of a French Jesuit priest! There are more winding roads to Heaven on Earth than I ever imagined.
How refreshing. What an amazing and exciting surprise. In the midst of the political, cultural, and international chaos of Trumpism – here is an incredibly clear sign that there are big things going right in this world…Some part of me relaxed that hasn’t since Trump got elected. It might not be loving to speak of him that way, but I see so much harm, so much damage in what he is doing. I wish he could be more loving, be enlightened to the effects of his actions on this planet and its people. What a difference that would make. Meanwhile, we can all just keep loving as much as we can. I am encouraged by this unexpected message to just keep loving, along with all the other Light Workers out there.
If you haven’t seen or heard it already, I highly recommend that you go online and look up Reverend Curry’s royal wedding sermon. Give it a look – or a listen. You might be surprised, too, by how it affects you.