“When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22
We are now in the season of Pentecost remembering, celebrating that the Spirit was given to us on the day of Pentecost. If you want to see what happened that day when the Spirit moved through a large room of people who do not have a clue what is happening, watch Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the morning of Pentecost Eve. Usually the minister’s words at a wedding are called a homily, a short sermon, but as one of the British commentators says, Curry’s message is a true sermon, and it is all about love. He first describes love by reminding us that when two people fall in love, almost the whole world shows up as it does on that Saturday morning. That is how important love is.
Bishop Curry reminds us that love has the energy of fire, and his enthusiastic, passionate words are indeed like the Pentecost flames of fire running throughout St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Bishop Curry is so filled with the Spirit that he has to keep holding on to his lectern to stay in place. His body language signals that he wants to move out and reach out more directly with the young couple and his congregation. As you watch people’s faces, you can tell they have no idea what to do with him or his barnstorming message. They look mystified, amused, indignant, comical, questioning. Some look down at their program so others cannot see what they are thinking. Some glance at their neighbor to get a clue from them about what is happening. Some almost fall out of their chair! Some look at Curry as if they are mesmerized.
Perhaps the ones who seem to understand his message the most are indeed the royal wedding couple, especially Meghan who has a radiant smile with an occasional twinkle for the whole sermon.
Bishop Curry’s presentation and delivery are not in the British style, but his message of love is true to his Anglican and African roots. He speaks out of his African American tradition from his ancestors in slavery and out of his training in an Episcopal tradition that Americans modified from immigrants from England who settled this country. Bishop Curry speaks his truth that comes from deep inside of him as all these traditions come together and kindle tongues of fire from the power of love that flame around the world.
Bishop Curry is our role model of what it is like to be filled with the Spirit. We have no choice but to speak the truth. Many people will not have a clue what we are saying, but everyone who hears us will be changed in some way. Bishop Curry also reminds us that the truth from God should always be about love, loving God, loving ourselves, and loving our neighbor. Period.
Happy Pentecost Season.