Viewpoint

The real star of the Royal Wedding

The Rev. Michael Curry delivered a powerful and popular speech at the Royal Wedding.
The Rev. Michael Curry delivered a powerful and popular speech at the Royal Wedding. Ap file photo

The Royal Wedding rocked.

Yes, I typed those words. I watched the wedding. I’m glad I did.

Pundits predicted Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would make this royal wedding different, send some signals. They were right.

There was an “Amen” as stirring as Sydney Poitier's. Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” performed in profound, precise simplicity by a gospel choir. A cellist played our heartstrings.

But it was the Most Reverend Michael Curry who really rocked, serving up a stunning sermon on the Power of Love.

“We must discover ... the redemptive power of love,” Curry said, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “When we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world, a new world.”

He challenged us to visualize what our world, remade by that redemptive power of love, could look like; to imagine our homes and families, neighborhoods and communities, business and commerce, and governments and nations – when love is the way.

“No child would go to bed hungry in such a world,” Curry promised. “Justice will roll down like a mighty stream ... Poverty will become history ... We will lay our swords and shields down by the riverside...”

He turned from quoting King to paraphrasing Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest. “If humanity ever captures the energy of love,” Curry said, invoking Chardin, “then for the second time in the history of the world we will have discovered fire.”

Curry was spellbinding. And he connected. Rave reviews filled the airwaves and cyberspace. In today’s main metric of ubiquitous connectivity — Twitter — Curry was off the charts, triggering 40,000 tweets a minute, more than Harry and Meghan’s kiss.

The cause consistently cited for the success of Curry’s sermon was his race. A black preacher hailing from Chicago and North Carolina at what would typically be among the whitest of weddings surely was different.

But his sermon was not different solely because of his black-ness. It was different because of his Christ-ness.

In his vision of life lived through the fiery power of redemptive love, Curry did not play it safe by relying only on the venerable Dr. King and a mysterious French mystic.

“Jesus of Nazareth taught us that the way of love is the way to a real relationship with the God who created all of us,” Curry said. He quoted the Bible’s First Book of John: “Whoever does not love does not know God. For God is love.”

Rev. Curry’s sermon was so powerful, seen by so many, caused such response, the phenomenon caught the attention of the Fox News Channel, which tweeted: “If you liked the Royal Wedding sermon today, Go to Church Tomorrow.”

I doubt that happened. As Christian conservatives have found more and louder outlets on radio, TV, and the internet — and more states have turned red — weekly church attendance has fallen by nearly 40 percent, according to the Association of Religious Data Archives. Christian conservatives are winning at the ballot box but losing in the pews. Divisiveness wins elections, not converts.

“If you liked the Royal Wedding sermon today, go to Church Tomorrow”?

Maybe if people thought a sermon like Rev. Curry’s is what they’d hear, more would.

Observer contributor Keith Larson can be heard weekdays at Noon on AM 730 Radio Charlotte, and TheLarsonPage.com

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