I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that it’s rather rare for a sermon to get passed around the way Bishop Curry’s has over these last few days.
After Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, preached the homily at the Royal Wedding on Saturday, his sermon has been shared all over social media. It has made its way into articles for a large number of magazines (also shared on social media), and it has been featured in a lot of prime time news slots — temporarily, I might add, displacing the person who seems to dominate television around the clock.
Bishop Curry preached about the power of love — not just the love between a couple, but the calling to love our neighbors — and he invited those listening to imagine a world where humanity had learned to harness the power of love. It was hopeful and inviting. It was empowering.
I love that Bishop Curry’s sermon brought together massive amounts of people who are not typically a community – that is, the 3,000 or so who were present and the many millions who were watching on television. At the very same time, he dared to be remarkably subversive. Both of these were so moving.
Fred Rogers used to say, “I’m so convinced that the space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground. And what we put on the television can, by the Holy Spirit, be translated into what this person needs to hear and see. . .” I think a sense of holy ground was created as 29.2 million people watched and felt a sense of connection with one another. People were moved. Lots of folks who are not overtly religious shared this sermon and spoke to the power of it.
And make no mistake, this sermon was subversive as well. Throughout the sermon, Bishop Curry represented and referenced Black liberation theology as he was in a space historically associated with colonialism, white supremacy, and subjugation. He quoted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and he referenced the influence of enslaved people in the United States. The sermon was powerful for all these reasons too.