Saturday, May 19, 2018

That Royal Wedding Sermon...

I joked today that American interest in the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (who are now Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) is how we descendants of Loyalists exiled from the United States in 1784 will roll back the American Revolution. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, so I dutifully got up early to watch the Queen's grandson get married.

The wedding had great liturgy, great music (including a gospel choir!), and great preaching, in a beautiful setting (although St. George's Chapel is much more High Church than I am). The sermon by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, has taken off on social media and online. Whenever else have we seen the full text, or video, of a sermon posted on Buzzfeed, Fast Company, Town and Country and Vanity Fair? It is heartening to see the Church covered by the major media for speaking of love, sacrifice and justice, instead of for attacking gay people, abusing children, and defending Trump.

I like Slate's take on the sermon's "subtly radical theology." I would quibble that the Queen, who is the head of a 53-country Commonwealth that includes a number of nations populated largely by the descendants of slaves (Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia come to mind first), has probably heard slavery mentioned in a sermon before. But as someone who was excited to see the cathedral and university in Beijing associated with Teilhard de Chardin, I loved that Bishop Curry mentioned this theologian (and paleontologist). And here is the article's conclusion:

...Curry’s sermon('s)... central argument was the world-transforming power of love. On the surface, this is pretty standard fodder for a wedding homily, of course. But Curry explicitly defined “love” as something much larger than romantic attachment. “Imagine our governments and countries when love is the way,” he told the crowd, as he approached the sermon’s climax. “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.” This is a core tenet of the kind of robust mainline Christianity that many people will have been introduced to for the first time on Saturday: both a call to faith and a call to action. Seeing that message delivered so forthrightly to millions of people enjoying the silly pomp and extravagance of a royal wedding was bracing. If it left you hungry for more, go to church.