If, like me, you are fond of the English royals, you may have watched the broadcast of Prince Harry’s and Megan Markle’s wedding. If you did, you heard that joyful sermon given by our American Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry.
He spoke without notes, straight from the heart, about love. Love is the beginning and love is the end; the means and the goal, the Alpha and the Omega. Many a stiff upper Anglican lip curved into a broad smile at hearing such good news from an ancient pulpit on a royal occasion!
Bishop Curry’s message has been taken up for this year’s Church-wide Lenten study, entitled The Way of Love. Episcopalians and friends around the country will study the theme, exploring practices that, in Bishop Curry’s phrase, “train up our love,” so that we can realize that the personal and the eternal meet in love. The study is broken out into various traditional lenten disciplines: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, rest. Online, videos and other resources to follow the Way of Love are at episcopalchurch.org
And/or you could practice awareness every lenten day of the ways that love is creative, redeeming, and transforming your life. Going still deeper, you could practice seeing every person you meet or hear about through the eyes of Jesus, whose view was so radical he even taught “Love your enemies.”
For Jesus’ radical teaching to even begin to make sense we need to follow his gaze, so to speak—to glimpse his vision of the kingdom of God. In God’s kingdom, each person is seen as God sees. “Your father in heaven” Jesus said, “makes his sun rise on good and bad alike, and sends the rain on the innocent and the wicked.”
God only knows our tangled histories—the causes of suffering, root and branch. God knows the heart as none other can. Nevertheless God loves; God is the power to reconcile. “Blessed are those who show mercy; mercy will be shown to them”
Jesus saw with the eyes of a son of man who is at the same time a son of God. For the kingdom of God to come, the chains of violent action, transgression, and reaction must be broken. Evil cannot overcome itself; evil is only undone by the unfathomable goodness at life’s very root.
Jesus and his true friends confront evil with good. Neither cowards nor collaborators, they overturn the commonsense of this world to point to a greater commonwealth. Their kind of activism is the only real revolution. See through their eyes: we are not forever victims and oppressors, “us vs them.” Rather, all without exception are God’s own, heirs of a kingdom where deep love in action really does have the power to put things right.
Right here at home, on the Wednesdays of Lent, adults are invited to gather from 12:15 to 1:15 in the Parish Hall Library, to enjoy homemade soup and fresh baked bread, followed by conversation searching out some aspect of holy love and how it saves. Each class is a stand-alone, so come, even if you’ve missed the earlier weeks. Join me, the virtual Bishop Curry, and other Trinity friends to probe more deeply how love grows—and may grow wiser—through every age and stage of life. We could save the world! Or, at least, you just might leave spirit-lifted, heartened for your own pilgrimage on the way of love, and—who knows?—like your favorite royals, smiling broadly.
Rev. Dr. Maureen