THIS small book is a collection of sermons preached by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Michael Curry. It begins with the bravura address given at the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan.
I thought that the vitality of that sermon was due probably to the warmth and personality of the preacher, and that, reading it in a book form, I would find that the sermon felt flat and simplistic. I was very wrong. It has an authority, because it reflects the simple strength of the teaching of Jesus Christ that love has a power to transform: transform you, transform the people around you, transform society.
The core theme of all the sermons is this transfiguring power of love. Bishop Curry has a moving use of language by which he picks up phrases from scripture, spirituals, or hymns. By his repetition of these phrases through a sermon, they become like waves crashing on rocks. Beneath Bishop Curry’s plain words is a profound theology and a clear mystical insight of how union with Christ must lead to social action.
All the sermons were written for quite specific occasions. You might need to translate some of the material from the American scene to the British, and enjoy doing so.
Bishop Curry is well known as a champion of civil rights, with a passionate commitment to equality for race, gender, and orientation. But he does not see this as an excluding battle of “us against them”. Rather, the power of love can bring unity to people of differing views — not a bad message to be preached in Brexit Britain.
This book would make a great present for a couple preparing to get married. It would be a great present for anyone to have Curry for Christmas.
The Ven. Lyle Dennen is a former Archdeacon of Hackney.
The Power of Love: The royal wedding sermon
Michael B. Curry
Hodder & Stoughton £14.99
Church Times Bookshop £13.50