The sermon delivered at Saturday’s royal wedding was about the love shared by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But Bishop Michael Curry’s message, called “The Power of Love,” following a week that included a school shooting in Santa Fe, Tex., that claimed 10 lives, the killing of more than 60 Palestinian protesters the day of the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, and the daily hateful rhetoric that has become normative among partisans in our political climate, challenged guests and viewers alike to also imagine a love so powerful that it could change the world.
Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, who is known for connecting biblical concepts to the events of the day, said:
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. 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.
It’s not uncommon for black American pastors to quote the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a pastor himself, in sermons. But the civil rights icon's name is not one you often hear at weddings. But Curry quoted the activist, who did revolutionary work speaking for marginalized people oppressed by governments, because King regularly spoke about how much his work was rooted in the concept of “love.” Even when difficult, King’s worldview advocated for loving your enemies and people who are different regardless of their ethnic identity, political tribe or religion.
Curry referenced the relevance of that in 2018 when he said on Saturday:
“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 do that, we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way.
"There’s power in love.”
Based on social media, the reaction to Curry’s sermon showed that it was incredibly well-received, especially by black Americans. But emphasizing the power of love seemed to resonate across countries, races and even political views perhaps because such a unifying message is rarely shared so prominently. And it also possibly connected because the current times are politically divisive, and even violent.
Curry spoke for an alternative:
“Think and imagine, well, think and imagine a world where love is the way,” he said. “Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired old world when love is the way, unselfish, sacrificial redemptive.”
There is a lot to take away from Saturday’s ceremony, and there will be numerous pieces reflecting on it. But the component of the day that had the greatest potential to connect is that hate will never be an effective approach to righting societal ills. Therefore, tapping into love is worth a try.