Don’t know if you heard, but there was a little wedding held a few weeks ago, across the pond. A young couple, Harry and Meghan got married in a little chapel in a castle, constructed between 1070 and 1086 in Windsor, England. Six hundred guests worshipped and witnessed their exchange of vows in the chapel while thousands lined the streets of Windsor, and an estimated 2 billion tuned in to watch from home.
How about you? Did you watch? I did. And, all I can say is, “Holy Socks!”
“Holy Socks” because the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, preached a sermon that had to be Holy Spirit inspired. It’s as if God himself was speaking to not only the bride and groom, but all the children of this weary world who perhaps had come to doubt God’s presence and leadership in it. Into all the shouting and name calling, bigotry and hatred, violence and suspicion of the day, Rev. Curry preached the Good News of the Gospel—that we are loved by God and therefore freed to engage in the radical practice of loving others selflessly and sacrificially. Doing so, will change the world, Curry promised.
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)
I’m talking about power. Real power — power to change the world.
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
To make the wounded whole
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.
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.”
That’s the balm in Gilead. This way of love 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 out of it.
He wasn’t getting anything out of it — He did it for others, for the other, for the good and well being of others. 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 can change lives and it can change this world.
If you don’t believe me, just stop and think and imagine a world where love is the way. 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 nations when love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when this love is the way. Imagine this third old world when love is the way.
No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a might stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing book.
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.
When love is the way, there’s plenty good room — plenty good room — for all of God’s children.
When love is the way, we actually treat each other like we are actually family.
When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all. We are brothers and sisters, children of God.
We talk about love and loving a lot. Especially in these days, it’s time we focused on putting talk into action. Bishop Curry is advocating that way of living in relationship with God and neighbor because it’s the way Christ lived. It’s living in such a way that respects others and listens to others and shows compassion particularly to the widow, the orphan, the refugee, the poor—because it’s the way Christ lived and loved. It’s living in such a way that love, exemplified by Christ, becomes the love that is evident in our individual lives, in the life of the church, all the avenues of society, because we’ve allowed the Holy Spirit to invade our hearts and minds. Transformation happens, because God’s Kingdom is under construction, using the building block of the love of God as exemplified and expressed by Christ Jesus, our Lord.