With extensive plagiarism- and some changes- from Bishop Michael Curry:
From the Song of Solomon in the Bible: Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.
The late Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, and I quote: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love.”
There is power in love. It is the most powerful force in the universe. It is so much mightier than wealth or success. It burns like a flame.
It is a glorious thing to love and be loved. To know that someone cares for you deeply. It is a love that we celebrate on this magnificent day.
There is something right about it. And there’s a reason for that. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant – and are meant – to be lived in that love.
The New Testament says it this way: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God, and those who love are born of God and know God. Those who do not love do not know God. Why? For God is love.”
How do we know that God is love? “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
A loving God has given us so much to enjoy- the beauty of a summer day, the laughter of children, the passion of a romantic relationship. To our shame, we push the God who gave us everything out of our lives. But what does He do? He keeps loving. He comes to earth and shows His love by choosing to pay for all our wrongdoing.
That is a truth that sets people free.
If you don’t believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America’s Antebellum South who explained the dynamic power of love and why it has the power to transform.
They explained it this way. They sang a spiritual, even in the midst of their captivity. It’s one that says ‘There is a balm in Gilead…’ a healing balm, something that can make things right.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.’
And one of the stanzas actually explains why. They said: ‘If you cannot preach like Peter, and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all.”‘
Oh, that’s the balm in Gilead! This way of love, it is the way of life. They got it. He died to save us all.
He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn’t… he wasn’t getting anything out of it. 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 that love will create a whole new world. I am excited today. I am excited by the love of Harry and Meghan. And I am most excited because it is the signpost to the world to come.
At the heart of the Bible’s story is a King marrying His bride. Solomon talks about it. When Jesus comes to live and die and rise He is after a bride- people that He loves and who will love Him. But Jesus says there is more to come. The greatest wedding ever- Jesus and the people who love Him- in a whole new world.
Meghan- when you walked down the aisle my eyes were full of tears. Because I was thinking- this is the future! A stunningly beautiful bride meeting her bridegroom. The church- a people loved by Jesus who then love Him- meeting Jesus. That’s the future. I can’t wait. For those who love Jesus the future is a leading role in the greatest royal wedding ever.
Now I need to wrap up because we need to get you married. In a minute, Harry and Meghan, you will be asked a big question. But today there is a massive question for all of us wherever we are. Jesus has loved us enough to die for us. Here’s the question- Will we take Him to be our bridegroom? Will we receive His love? Will we then, forsaking all others, be faithful to Him as long as we shall live? Will we make Him the King of our lives?
And if we say yes to those questions it is like we discover fire all over again. There is a new power to love others- a power to make this world a better place. There is a hope is despair. There is a whole new world that awaits.
There is nothing like the power of God’s love seen in Jesus. Will you receive it?