I joined about a billion other people the other night and watched Meghan and Harry get married. I’m not generally that interested in watching weddings of people I don’t know, but I knew that Em would be, so I decided to just enjoy it. It turns out it wasn’t too hard, I really got into the first three seasons of Suits so it felt kinda exciting seeing all my old friends at a wedding cheering Meghan on.
I’m sure I could provide a mediocre recap of the wedding, but plenty of people have already done that. I’m writing this on Friday, the wedding was almost a week ago, I’m way behind the times. Let’s just say, it was good.
But I’ll tell you what I really enjoyed – Bishop Michael Curry’s preaching. Partly because I, like so many people, loved the American style preaching in an Anglican chapel. (I think the Queen also secretly enjoyed it, despite what her face seemed to say.) But it wasn’t just the contrast of the moment, I also loved that he spent 13 minutes telling us about the power of love, and encouraging people, some of the most powerful and influential people in the world, to harness the power of God’s love to change the world.
Plus this all happened in the context of a black minister preaching at the wedding of a woman of mixed-race to a member of the British royal family. That in itself is something to celebrate, beyond you know, just love.
I’ll tell you what I was doing during the sermon though, I was sitting there, along with probably almost every other conservative Christian, listening for the Gospel sermon bingo. I was first waiting for him to talk about Jesus. Then I was waiting for him to say “Jesus died on the cross for our sins.” And after that, I would have been waiting for him to say “Jesus rose bodily from the dead.” And then finally, for a “BINGO!” he would say “Repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour so that you might be saved!” (Then for extra points he might lead an altar call.)
But well, he didn’t get a BINGO did he? He said, quoting from that song about the
Bomb Balm in Gilead, “Jesus… he died to save us all.” Which is pretty good, but I knew all us evangelicals (in the non-American politics sense of the word) would be thinking “How? How did his death save us? Explain it! Explain!” And he never did. I knew as soon as the sermon ended there would be tweets and status updates saying “Bishop Curry didn’t say enough”, “He didn’t say the full gospel”, “Squandered opportunity!”, and then the blog posts would start, and off we’d go.
And sure enough there they were. I’ve been seeing them all week. People disappointed that the Bishop didn’t spell out the gospel. And others telling us that the Bishop isn’t as good as we might think he is. But why? What do we have to achieve by complaining? What I heard was a man preaching passionately about how the love of Jesus can change the world. Maybe he didn’t say it how I would have, but then I wasn’t asked to preach was I?
Now I’m not very good at spiritual equations, but in my estimation, this has to be a net gain for the glory of Jesus. How many people watched that and thought “I like the idea of a loving God, I might look more into this love.” And how many people heard the words about Jesus that “He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life, for the good of others, for the good of the other, for the wellbeing of the world… for us.” and wondered how could one man’s death be for the wellbeing of the entire world? I suspect there were a few who thought that and a few of them who will act on their curiosity. Maybe not a large percentage of the total viewership, but probably more people than I will ever preach to in my life.
I guess what I’m saying is, we shouldn’t waste time complaining publically about something that got a good response from all over the world and just be thankful for what Bishop Curry said, for the way he said it, and get on with the job of love, because that’s what our real job is. You know, loving God and loving others, because of the love we’ve seen in Jesus.*
* When he died for our sins at the cross, and then rose bodily from the dead, who wants to become a Christian?
The night of the wedding Bishop Curry did an event with Soul Survivor and spent more time talking about the love of Jesus. It was also pretty good. Enjoy!