I made no plans to watch the Royal Wedding this past weekend.
But when my internal clock awakened me at 6:30 a.m., I decided to turn on the television.
I am certainly glad that I did because I got an unexpected surprise when Presiding Episcopal Bishop Michael B. Curry delivered the wedding homily (I had not followed the preliminary coverage of the wedding, so I had no idea he was on program. When I saw him, I knew that the millions of people watching were about to receive something special because Bishop Curry, one of the leading progressive theological voices in America, preaches with fire).
It appears that Bishop Curry surprised, awed and stunned some of those listening to his sermon (which some described as “unconventional” or “unorthodox” for St. George’s Chapel). Some of them had no idea what they were witnessing or experiencing – the black preaching tradition.
That tradition helped to end slavery and to birth the Civil Rights movement. It continues to call people and communities to account for their social deeds and misdeeds. It continues to inspire and encourage people to keep hoping against hope in turbulent times.
Bishop Curry delivered a prophetic call – not only to those in the chapel at Windsor Castle, but to the world — to let the radical and transformative power of love guide us. He reminded us that justice is rooted in love. He challenged us to commit to loving our neighbors as ourselves. He challenged us to be better.
He drew on liberation theology to describe love as a necessary social and political force that provides hope in the face of social injustice and that serves as the power to eradicate those injustices:
“When love is the way, then no child will 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 be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down, 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. Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family.”
Bishop Curry lifted up a faith that believes love ultimately triumphs over hatred, a faith that believes love can change the world, a faith rooted in the radical power of redemptive love.
Thank you, Bishop Curry for reminding the Church of its social responsibility and of the need for religious engagement.
Let the Church say: Amen!