Bishop Michael Curry preached a fine sermon at the wedding today of Prince Harry and beautiful actress Meghan Markle.
We must discover love – the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world, a new world.
It is all too rare that I listen to a sermon but when I hear a good one, delivered with passion and energy and providing an uncluttered message of hope it cheers my soul. Even though (as a devout atheist and christian apostate) I don’t have one.
I keep thinking of Utopia. I can not help but hope that secular redemption is possible. That indeed as the good Bishop preaches “we will make of this old world, a new world.”
What beautiful sentiments and however you like to define love, I think we know what he means. Even though when used in public “love” always somehow sounds a little overstated.
I started wondering whether he needed to fill out his manifesto a bit. If like most good clergyman he seeks to make the earth into a kingdom of his god, then does he have any agenda? Any concrete proposals?
You see I have been thinking of how to give weight to some of the platitudes I promote. A better world? Sure but what specifically does that mean? Does it require legislation? Higher taxes? Better education? Social awareness? How do we create our Utopia slowly but surely so that it does not degenerate into yet another disastrous killing field like Soviet Russia?
And then I thought about Bishop Curry’s sermon once again. No, it does not contain any specific recommendations. It is not a political manifesto. It does not venture pedestrian practical steps to ensure the enslaved are freed and the hungry fed.
I realised that it actually does more than all of that. “Love thy neighbour as thyself” is actually all you need to do and suddenly his vision becomes realised truth.
You don’t have to be a believer to realise the truth of this faintly embarrassing phrase. And yet how difficult it will be to live up to that ideal. It is difficult enough to “love” ourselves yet alone our irritating neighbours playing headbanging music all night.
But he is right; in the great simplicity of his message he is right. If we were all able to change our nature, to change human nature, to eradicate greed, envy, lust and anger and to treat others as we would wish to be treated ourselves, we would have no need for manifestos and grand political aims. It would all happen. Food would be shared, shelter and treatment given, violence ended.
A simple and beautiful message but one none of are likely to put into practice any time soon. Sadly.