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That sermon...

Weddings are rarely remembered for sermons.

Recently, Rev Michael Jensen wrote, ‘What the preacher has to remember is that people are not there to hear your sermon.’

However, Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at Meghan and Harry’s wedding will be remembered, as will the questions it generated:

Was it appropriate for a Royal Wedding? Was it too long? Was it too political? Was it too flamboyant?

Whatever you made of it, it did start many conversations this week. I’ve triggered a few myself.

It cut through the typical preoccupations of a Royal Wedding, the bride’s dress, the Queen, the music, the pomp and circumstance, concerns about modernizing the monarchy…

I liked Bishop Curry’s sermon for two reasons. It was passionate, and it was a little inappropriate. (For the record, my only concern was that he might have made it a little more personal to Harry and Meghan.)

Passion: Bishop Curry is an engaging preacher. He drew on the spiritual depths of the Afro-American tradition, bringing the scriptures to life with power and potential to change things.

‘Think and imagine a world where love is the way.’

And, he did something more. He engaged people; he elicited responses. While it’s hard to infer reactions from facial expressions, there were plenty of faces suggesting surprise and discomfort last Saturday.

To cut through, you often need to challenge.

He did. To use his own insight, he linked fire with love.

Love, as expounded in the church, often brings to mind a vicar’ tea party, but not for Bishop Curry, for whom it’s replete with fire.

A little inappropriate: St Georges’ Chapel, Windsor where the wedding took place, is a seat of power and privilege. The guest list featured many of the elite.

Religion usually defers to such power. Sometimes it blesses it, but not Michael Curry.

He challenged it, not arrogantly or rudely, but forcefully. One commentator suggested that the forebears of at least some members of that congregation would have risen to fame through employing slave labour.

In many places, it’s considered poor form, and a little inappropriate, to even imply that the host’s worldview is a bit questionable.

But that’s what happens when love is linked with fire. Personally, I admire it.

In the end, though, the many different reactions to ‘that sermon,’ mine included, are not nearly as important as pursuing the extraordinary opportunity that this sermon granted – to imagine a world where love is the way!