Do you ever hear something, or maybe see something that you just can’t get out of your head? Sometimes it’s a song, a phrase, a tv commercial, or a feeling. I have a message I can’t get out of my head over the last week. It’s the sermon that was broadcast to millions of people, even though it was part of a wedding ceremony. I’m of course referring to the sermon by Bishop Michael Curry at the Royal Wedding at Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel. It has been interesting to watch the reactions and reviews since that day. Lots of people are saying it was an amazing spiritual experience, others complained that he got too “political” in a wedding ceremony, still others felt he needed to bring more “fire and brimestone” to convict a large audience like that, and even others have commented on how it lacked substance. It’s amazing how one sermon could get that many different responses.
Well, here’s mine. I watched it live as it happened at whatever pre-dawn time it was here in Goodland. Nicole and I have been sucked in by the historical dramas on television and streaming services that highlight the British monarchy, so it seemed natural to want to watch the ceremony live. What I did not expect that morning was to “go to church,” but that is exactly what happened. One excerpt from Bishop Curry’s sermon really has stayed with me this week:
“He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn’t… he wasn’t getting anything out of it. He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life, for the good of others, for the good of the other, for the well being of the world… for us.
That’s what love is. 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 imagine. Think and imagine a world where love is the way.
Imagine our homes and families where 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 where this love is the way. Imagine this tired old world where love is the way.
When love is the way – unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive.
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 by the riverside, to study war no more.”
You see, i think the negative responses to the sermon go back to something I mentioned in a sermon on May 6th, the English language lacks in its ability to properly describe things. We have only one word for love, yet so many different types and feelings related to that one word. It’s limiting. Love isn’t just liking those people who we enjoy being around. Love means caring for another even when their actions and words make it nearly impossible to like them. Love means caring for another even when you don’t know them. Love means giving of yourself in such a way that our individualism ceases to exist and Christ is in full reveal through us. When we limit how we understand love, and only see it through a romantic lens, we miss the transforming power love can have in our relationships, our church, and our world. May love be our guide to greater understanding of God and transformation in our life.
Grace and Peace,
To See the Full Transcript of Bishop Curry’s sermon, click here.