19 May 2018, The Tablet

Bishop at Royal wedding preaches on the 'power of love'

'Think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to centre around you and your beloved.'

Bishop at Royal wedding preaches on the 'power of love'

Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle kiss as they exit St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their royal wedding ceremony, in Windsor, Britain, on May 19, 2018.
Photo: Xinhua/Pool/EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL/PA

There is power in love and the source of love is God himself, US Bishop Michael Curry said at the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry today.

Preaching at St George's Chapel, Windsor, Bishop Curry, presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church and the first black bishop to hold the post, quoted Dr Martin Luther King: "We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world."

Bishop Curry said: "Love is the only way.There's power in love. Don't underestimate it. Don't even over sentimentalise 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 centre around you and your beloved. Well, there's power, power in love, not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love."

There's something right about love, he said, and 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."

He quoted the 20th century French Jesuit, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, describing him as "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." 

Curry continued: "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!"

He referenced Jesus being described as beginning the most revolutionary movement in human history.

"I'm talking about some power – real power. Power to change the world. If you don't believe me, well, there was more 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 just tell the love of Jesus how he died to save of all. Oh that's the balm in Gilead: his 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 didn't. He wasn't getting anything out of it. He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life for others, for the good of the other, for the wellbeing of the world. For us. That's what love is. Love is not selfish and self-centred. Love can be sacrificial. And in so doing, becomes redemptive."

Imagine governments and nations where love is the way, he said. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way."

When unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive, when love is the way, "no child would go to bed hungry in this world ever again."

Dr King was right, he continued. "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 my God hold us all in those all mighty hands of love.”

The couple, who have now become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after the titles were bestowed on them by the Queen, were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who had previously baptised and confirmed the Duchess.

As a child she attended a Catholic school, Immaculate Heart Middle School and High School in California just Los Angeles. 

For her wedding she wore a white gown and sweeping train, designed by the British artistic director of French fashion house Givenchy. She wore the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara, loaned by the Queen.

Guest included George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams, Victoria Beckham, Oprah Winfrey and Idris Elba. 

Kensington Palace tweeted that rather than send a wedding gift, well-wishers should consider making a donation to charity.

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