It seems like the whole planet tuned in to watch the royal wedding. It was a beautiful occasion on a beautiful day, and Harry and Meghan looked just the part. Young and in love. The wedding had it all: fascinators, celebrities, pomp, and great music.
Then there was the sermon. Many people are saying the preacher stole the show. I knew it was going to be a great sermon, and I knew Bishop Michael Curry, head of the Episcopal Church in the USA, would preach about love.
If you haven’t watched the sermon, do it now. It’s the best thirteen minutes you’ll spend all day.
The reactions among media and on Twitter were amazing. One British paper said Bishop Curry is a “break-out star.” Buzzfeed posted the full text of the sermon. When has Buzzfeed ever posted a sermon?! TV network commentators were gobsmacked.
Of course, Bishop Curry, as amazing as he is, isn’t the reason people found the sermon moving. It was not the preacher, but the subject that moved people’s hearts. We’re all yearning to know that we are loved, that our lives have purpose, and that the world can be transformed. That’s the power of love, and that’s exactly what Bishop Curry spoke about.
Don’t let this moment pass you by. Don’t let love be reduced to a fleeting feeling. Let love sweep into your life and change you. Come to church. Meet people who, like Bishop Curry, are serious about love.
If you found that message powerful, then go to church. Whether you haven’t been to church in a long time, or if you’ve never been, go to church.
Before you get to church, you should know a few things first. The preacher probably won’t be as good as Bishop Curry. The ceremony and the music won’t be as impressive. There won’t be celebrities at every turn, and you’re unlikely to see fancy outfits.
What you will find in church is better than all that, however. In church, you’ll find a community of people trying to figure out what it means to live meaningful lives rooted in redemptive love. The church won’t look like a fairy tale, and it won’t be perfect. That’s the point.
The gospel of Jesus Christ begins in imperfection. You and I are broken. We have sinned, and we’ll do it again. But the love of God in Jesus Christ can make us whole. Churches are communities of people looking for wholeness, and then sharing that healing love with a world in need.
In church, week in and week out, we hear that violence, poverty, and hatred do not have the last word. We hear the Gospel, that love, hope, justice, and mercy have the final word. That’s the “redemptive love” that Bishop Curry was preaching about, and it’s the redemptive love you can experience in church.
I’m head-over-heels in love with the Anglican traditions of the Episcopal Church. We saw glimpses of this at the royal wedding. We pray ancient, lovely prayers. We hear and preach the word of God. We receive the sacraments. And we engage the real problems of the world with the boldness and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In most countries of the world, there are Anglican or Episcopal churches that would love to welcome you tomorrow.
But if formal liturgy isn’t your cup of tea, or you prefer a different style of worship, there are all sorts and varieties of Christians who would be glad to welcome you. Baptists, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Orthodox, and many others are waiting for you.
Don’t let this moment pass you by. Don’t let love be reduced to a fleeting feeling. Let love sweep into your life and change you. Come to church. Meet people who, like Bishop Curry, are serious about love. As Bishop Curry said,
Because 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 brothers and sisters, children of God. My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family.
When the church is at its best, love is the way. Come experience that love, and join the effort to share that love with the whole world.