Bishop Michael Curry reportedly said the word ‘love’ no less than 58 times during his wedding sermon.
The Chicago native, the first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, gave an address titled the Power of Love at the service this afternoon where he was due to say the word at least 58 times. But after opening his energetic speech with the words of Dr Martin Luther King, hailing his views on love as ‘right’, he went slightly ‘off-piste’ and reportedly said the word more than 60 times. ‘
We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way,’ Bishop Curry quoted.
He then said: ‘There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalise. There is power, power in love.’ He added: ‘
Love can help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.’
Such power could be seen in the service, he continued, saying: ‘Two young people fell in love and we all showed up.’
The bishop’s words rose in a passionate crescendo as he spoke of the link between love and the divine, his style a stark contrast to the sober delivery of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was officiating. And Twitter couldn’t get enough of the bishop’s speech, whose animated performance was a departure from the type of sermons the royal family would normally see at church services.
Ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband was full of praise for Rev Curry, saying: ‘Rev Michael Curry could almost make me a believer.’
While Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman wrote: ‘Loving how Michael Curry is shaking the whole thing up here.’ ‘This wedding needed Bishop Michael Curry’s energy and we should all be grateful to Meghan for that,’ said Michelle Collins.
While at times several of the congregation could be seen smiling and exchanging glances during the speech which cited love as the key to curing global problems. In a moment of light self-deprecation, Bishop Curry noted he had to soon sit down, gesturing to the couple and adding ‘we need to get y’all married’.
Drawing the threads of his address together, he concluded: ‘If humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.’
The full address:
An old medieval poem says it: Where true love is found, God himself is there. Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Song of Songs 8:6-7
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: ‘We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way. There’s power in love. Do not underestimate it. Anyone who has ever fallen in love, knows what I mean. But think about love in any form or experience of it. It actually feels good to be loved, and to express love.
There is something right about it. And there’s a reason. The Bible, 1 John 4 says it this way: Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God; Everyone who loves is born of God. Whoever does not love does not know God For God is love. (1 John 4:4-8) There’s power in love. Love can help and heal when nothing else can. Love can lift up and liberate for living when nothing else will.
And the love that brings two people together is the same love that can bind them together, Whether on mountaintops of happiness and through valleys of hardship. Love is strong as death It’s flashes are flashes of fire. Many waters cannot quench love Love can see you through! There’s power in love.
But the love of which we speak is not only for couples getting married or just for interpersonal relationships. Jesus of Nazareth taught us that the way of love is the way to a real relationship with the God who created all of us, and the way to true relationship with each other as children of that one God, as brothers and sisters in God’s human family.
One scholar said it this way: Jesus had founded the most revolutionary movement in human history: a movement built on the unconditional love of God for the world and the mandate to live that love.” (Charles Marsh’s The Beloved Community) And in so doing, to change lives and the world itself!
There’s a reason. An old spiritual may suggest why: If you cannot preach like Peter, And you cannot pray like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus, How he died to save us all There is a balm in Gilead To make the wounded whole There is a balm in Gilead To heal the sin sick soul Just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all. He didn’t sacrifice his life for himself, or anything he could get out of it, He did it for others, for the other, for the good and well being of others, That’s love How does St. Paul say it?
Love is not jealous, rude, or boastful. Love does not insist on its own way. Love is unselfish, sacrificial, kind and just. Love seeks the good and the well-being of the other. Love makes room and space for the other to be. (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
This love, this is the way of Jesus. And it’s game changer.
Imagine our homes and families when this way of love is the way.
Imagine our neighborhoods and communities when love is the way.
Imagine our governments and countries when love is the way.
Imagine business and commerce when this love is the way.
Imagine our world when love is the way.
No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that Poverty would become history in such a world as that. The earth would be as a sanctuary in such a world as that. We would treat one another as children of God, regardless of differences. We would learn how to lay our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. There would be a new heaven, a new earth, a new world. A new and beautiful human family. The very dream of God Love is strong as death It’s flashes are flashes of fire.
Many waters cannot quench love The late French Jesuit, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, was at once a scientist, a Roman Catholic priest, a theologian, a true mystic. His was one of the great minds and spirits of the 20th century. He suggested that the discovery and harnessing of fire was one of the great technological discoveries of human history.
Fire made it possible to cook food, thereby reducing the spread of disease.
Fire made it possible to stay warm in cold climates, thereby marking human migration possible.
Fire made the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Revolution possible.
If you drove here this morning, you did so in part because of harnessed fire. I flew here from the U.S. due to controlled burn of fire.
Fire is involved in broadcasting this wedding around the world. And we can text, tweet, email, and otherwise socially engage one another due to fire.
Fire was one of the great technological discoveries of humanity. In light of this, de Chardin said that if human beings ever harness the energies of love, then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire. Love is the very fire and energy of real life!
Dr. King was right: ‘We must discover the power of love, he redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.’ My brother, my sister, God love you, God bless you. My brothers, my sisters, God love you, God bless you. And may God hold us all In those almighty hands of love. Amen