Video & Text: Presiding Bishop’s royal wedding sermon

Posted May 19, 2018

[Episcopal News Service – Windsor, U.K.] Two videos and the full text of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle follow. The first video is the official broadcast from the BBC and the second was recorded on one of the large public screens stationed along the procession route in Windsor, where 150,000 well-wishers thronged the streets.

 


“The Power of Love”—A Sermon
by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
for
The Marriage of
HRH Prince Henry of Wales & Ms. Meghan Markle
Saturday, May 19, 2018 

And now in the name of our loving, liberating, and life-giving God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

From the Song of Solomon, in the Bible:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,

as a seal upon your arm;

for love is (as) 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 (out).

Song of Songs 8:6-7

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The late Dr. Martin Luther King once said, and I quote:

       “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. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love.  If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love.  The whole world seemed to center around you, and your beloved.  Oh, there’s power, power in love.  Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape, of love.  There’s a certain sense, in which when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right.  There’s something right about it.  And there’s a reason for it.

The reason has to do with the source.  We were made by a power of love.  And our lives were meant, and are meant to be lived in that love.  That’s why we are here.  Ultimately the source of love is God himself.

The source of all of our lives.

As an old medieval poem puts it:
“Where true love is found, God himself is there.”
1st John in the New Testament 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.” (1John 4:4-8)

There’s power in love.

There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can.

There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.

There’s power in love to show us the way to live

“Set me as a seal on your heart

A seal on your arm”

For love, it’s as strong as death.

But love is not only about a young couple.

Now the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we’re all here.

Two young people fell in love, and we all showed up!

But it’s not just for and about a young couple who we rejoice with.

It’s more than that.

Jesus of Nazareth on one occasion was asked by a lawyer to sum up the essence of the teachings of Moses.  And he read back, and reached back into the Hebrew scriptures to Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and Jesus said:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.

This is the first, and great commandment.

And the second is like it.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

And then in Matthew’s version, he added, he said:

         On these two, love of God and love of neighbor, hang all the law, all the prophets

Everything that Moses wrote, everything in the holy prophets, everything in the Scriptures, everything that God has been trying to tell the world!

Love God!

Love your neighbors.

And while you’re at it, love yourself.

Someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history.  A movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world.  And a movement mandating people to live that love.  And in so doing, to change not only their lives, but the very life of the world itself.

I’m talking about some power.

Real power.

Power to change the world.

And if you don’t believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America’s Antebellum South, who explained the dynamic power of love and why it has the power to transform.  They explained it this way – they sang a spiritual, even in the midst of their captivity.  It’s one that says:

         “There is a balm in Gilead”

A healing balm, something that can make things right –

         “There is a balm in Gilead

To make the wounded whole

There is a balm in Gilead

To heal the sin-sick soul.”

And one of the stanzas actually explains why – they said:

         “If you cannot preach like Peter,

And you cannot pray like Paul,

You  tell the love of Jesus,

How he died to save us all.”

Oh, that’s the balm in Gilead!

This way of love, it is the way of life!  They got it!

He died to save us all!  He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it!

Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying!

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 think, or imagine.

Think, and imagine.

Well, think and imagine a world where love is the way.

Imagine our homes and families when love is the way.

Imagine neighborhoods and communities when love is the way.

Imagine our governments and nations when love is the way.

Imagine business and commerce when love is the way.

Imagine this tired old world when love is the way.

When love is the way, unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive.

When love is the way, then no child would 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 would 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.

When love is the way, there’s plenty good room.  Plenty good room.  For all of God’s children.

And when love is the way, we actually treat each other – well, like we’re 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.

And let me tell you something, old Solomon was right in the Old Testament, that’s fire.

Teilhard de Chardin – and with this, I will sit down, we gotta get you all married.

French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin was arguably one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.  A Jesuit, Roman Catholic priest, a scientist, a scholar, a mystic.  In some of his writings he said, from his scientific background, as well as his theological one.  Some of his writings he said, as others have, that the discovery, or invention, or harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history.

Fire to a great extent made human civilization possible.

Fire made it possible to cook food, and to provide sanitary ways of eating, which reduced the spread of disease in its time.

Fire made it possible to heat and warm environments and thereby made human migration around the world a possibility, even into colder climates.

Fire made it possible – there was no Bronze Age without fire.  No Iron Age without fire.  No Industrial Revolution without fire.

The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good.

Anybody get here in a car today?  An automobile?

Nod your heads if you did, I’m guessing, I know there were some carriages.

For those of us who came in cars, fire, and the controlled, harnessed fire made that possible.

I know that the Bible says, and I believe it, that Jesus walked on the water, but I have to tell you, I didn’t walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here!

Controlled fire in that plane got me here!

Fire makes it possible for us to text and Tweet and email and Instagram and Facebook and socially be dysfunctional with each other!

Fire makes all of that possible!

And de Chardin said fire was one of the greatest discoveries in all of human history.

And he then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

Dr. King was right.

We must discover love.

The redemptive power of love.

And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.

My brother, my sister,

God love you, God bless you.

And may God hold us all,

in those Almighty hands of love.

 


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Comments (18)

  1. Everything for the glory of God!!! Job well done Bishop Curry🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿

  2. Charles Nelson says:

    How beautiful are the feet of those who bring GOOD NEWS. We have the capacity to follow in the footsteps of Yeshua of Nazareth, leading to our own RESURRECTION. Jesus did not “Die for our Sins,” He died showing us and the people of that time……. the way of LOVE.

  3. Fr Robert Browning says:

    23rd Psalm says “My cup runs over…” That’s the love talked about. Your cup is refillable. What runs over can go in to other’s cups that are half full or half empty, because all cups are refillable. Love isn’t love until you give it away. It is not an exchange. God is that Love! It is inexhaustible energy!

  4. The Rev. Dr. Mike Sowards says:

    What a beautiful message this Pentecost weekend! Just as the flames of the Holy Spirit lit upon those gathered in Jerusalem and created a new community – Let us harness the fire of love and become a community of love and unity! May the outpouring of the Holy Spirit be upon Harry and Megan and on all of us.

  5. Bishop Curry’s Word was heard even above the busseling crowd outside. Love was the appropriate theme for a wedding and for the world. Love is like fire – a refining tool. It transforms, changes, eliminates what is not needed and purifies. Sunday the Church celebrates its annointment of fire, love, the breath of God… Bishop Curry’s Word gave us a blessed start for our Celebration of the Day of Pentecost. +May we all be empowered!

  6. Katherine Beck-Ei says:

    Despite the early hour here in the Midwest, Bishop Curry’s sermon got my blood flowing, and set my soul on fire. For me, it was the highlight of the entire service. Passion, yes. Truth, absolutely. Bishop Curry spoke of the one and only Truth: Love. I am truly grateful this message was heard by so many around this broken world. All of us who were fortunate to hear within our hearts, minds, and souls have been deeply blessed. Thank you, Bishop Curry.

    1. Fr Robert Browning says:

      How the family got to Bishop Curry is a wonder in itself! Wonder how we will know the trickle down effect of what he gave to us. In 1976 I visited my grandparents home there in Sussex. A big sign across the roadway, proclaimed: “Colonists – All is forgiven, come home”! We are family and Bp Curry cemented this.

  7. JoAnne says:

    Love this <3

  8. The Rev. Dr. Elliott J Bush says:

    This was such a wonderful sermon, so very appropriate for the occasion and looking beyond the occasion. I did find the crowd noise very distracting, and the laughter inexplicable. I do hope that ENS gets a clean video copy of the sermon and posts it soon.

  9. Marci Arthur says:

    The perfect message on a day where love was the star.

  10. Kim Gauss says:

    Bishop Curry always speaks just the words we all need to hear. Love, family, justice and fire and the strength of God’s messages to us through the Bible and through Jesus Christ.

  11. VRev Peter A Baktis says:

    Love can make a change. Love can unite. Thank you for preaching the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A beloved community is what need to work for.

  12. Geoffrey C. Schuller says:

    Wow !!! The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. in which I’m proud to be a member of did the sermon of a life time. It was fantastic. Well done my good a faithful servant well done. He has a Baptist Mentality with a Episcopal Theology. May we all share that love with each other

  13. Bonita Bishop says:

    Presiding Bishop’s sermon was awesome. It was touching, thought provoking and tied in with the obvious love shared by the Royal couple. It was a great, fantastic and powerful sermon. My family and I loved it.

  14. Rose Njeri says:

    Presiding Bishop’s sermon was a seed to the hole world, may the Almighty God bless Him.
    song of Solomon 8: 6-7 ” Place me like a seed a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm, for LOVE is as strong as death, its jealously, unyielding as the grave, it burns like blazing fire , like a mighty flame. Many waters con not quench LOVE , rivers cont not sweep it away.
    If one were to give all the wealth of one house for LOVE it would be utterly scorned. AMEN, and AMEN .

  15. Riise Richards says:

    I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting and talking with Bishop Curry on three separate occasions. What an incredible vessel of Christ. I am happy to be part of this revolutionary “Jesus Movement”. It brings light and hope to communities overwhelmed by self interest. He visited us in January 2018, on the island of St. Thomas, and his sermon rocked the walls of our Cathedral Church of All Saints. Our “Monument to Freedom” built in 1848. God bless and keep you Bishop Curry, our Disciple. May your message resonate throughout all corners of the world until they get it.

  16. H R Walker says:

    meBishop Curry’s challenge to me brings me to my part in the world around me. What do I hold at the center of my life? How can I bring about a meaningful change in my world to lift someone out a life of despair and want? The real life problems face me every day. Bishop Curry’s words shine to illuminate the problems around me. His joy reflects the joy he has found working as a worker in God’s plan of Love.

  17. Stewart David Wigdor says:

    thank you. Love is all Power of God. Thus Love makes Heaven on earth. Thank you for your wisdom.

Comments are closed.