Did you catch it, the fever of Gospel love that Presiding Bishop Michael Curry proclaimed at the royal wedding on Saturday, May 19? If you slept through it, you can watch/read the Presiding Bishop’s sermon here. The newest social media meme floating about the interwebs is from a piece of Bishop Curry’s sermon: “Love Is The Way!” Saturday Night Live even caught on to the power and poise of Curry’s homily and did a bit on him during their “Weekend Update.” As I write this newsletter article, Bishop Curry is getting ready for morning talk show interviews. Ascension & Holy Trinity family, we are about love, and not the kind of sappy Hallmark sort of love; rather, as followers and friends of the Risen Lord who empowers us with the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are about the kind of love and grace that liberates us from all that would separate us from union with God. We are about seeking and sharing the light of Christ in every human being.
Our Book of Common Prayer reminds us that we are to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves, to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. How are we doing? Our faith in Christ is to be an active, daily inhaling and exhaling of the Holy Spirit as we share Love through our thoughts, words, and actions. How are we doing living our faith each day of the week? How does our faith in a merciful and liberating God shape our thoughts and our words and our actions?
I know that I have not always had the healthiest self-talk. In other words, I have been quite critical of my gifts and my weaknesses. What would God, what does God say about that? Rather than berating myself, might it be healthier to remind me that I am one of God’s beloved, doing the best I can?
As we leave our Sunday worship, how does that worship impact how we treat the stranger in our midst? When we go through the checkout line at the market, are we thinking about our own wants and needs, or are we better able to connect emotionally with concern for others in our midst? What about the person in line at the gas pump or the school teacher who didn’t turn grades in on time or the house cleaner who forgot to dust a corner of the living room?
Let’s take it a step deeper. How do we treat those with whom we disagree? How do we treat those who love the Contemporary Lord’s Prayer versus the Traditional Lord’s Prayer?
How about a step deeper? How do we treat those wanting gun laws to remain the exact same? What about those who want common sense gun laws? What about those seeking to allow immigrants into the country illegally, or what about those who don’t want any immigrants period, or what about those who want to see immigrants coming into our country but with more thorough immigration laws?
My point is that Ascension & Holy Trinity is a mixed bag and that is perfectly all right. All faith communities are mixed bags. Regardless of where we fall on any of these spectrums, as Christians we need to choose Love. Some might very well argue that Contemporary Eucharist is more “loving” than the Traditional Lord’s Prayer or that gun reform is or is not more loving. That is not the point. The point is that our Presiding Bishop was given the chance to preach in front of the world. The Most Rev. Michael Curry swung at that chance and hit a homer. Presiding Bishop Curry chose to focus on love, and that is where I want our focus, too.
I encourage sensible, civil conversations. Conflict can be a healthy thing if folks respect one another and are not egging one another on. My experience is that communities do all the better when they choose to focus on their similarities rather than their differences. Our chief similarity is that we believe that Jesus is the embodiment of love.
In God’s Grace, Eric L. Miller+