Royal Wedding: Bishop Curry, Racial Irony and Opportunities for Beloved Community…

royal wedding

So, the Royal Wedding has passed…

I wasn’t into it at all…

And that’s not an “I’m going to say I wasn’t into it because I don’t want to be identified as a fanboy even though I’m secretly all excited…”

I’ve seen people on my Facebook timeline being called out for that…

I really didn’t care.

I wish them well, as I do for everyone who gets married.

I pray the Lord bless them. I pray they are obedient to Him and honor their covenant. I pray the Spirit embue them with strength and courage to withstand the storms of marriage, the objects in the are designed to shipwreck those who attempt to travel as one…

I pray they demonstrate a love that is transformative and transcendent…representative of Christ and His Church.

But, I didn’t even know when it was happening…

Yet…I had to get somewhat aware…

You see: I serve on Executive Council of the Episcopal Church…it’s something like the Board of Directors for the National Episcopal Church. And, Bishop Curry is the Board Chair…

So, I was alerted to this Royal Wedding by the emails celebrating the Bishop Curry would be preaching the sermon.

A Black man…preaching the sermon at the Royal Wedding???

Well…aiight!

I give thanks for the intentionality that led to Bishop Curry being chosen.

Certainly, there was a racial reason for his selection.

Because of his grace in service and fireyness in preaching, it would have been hard to say no…

There’d be NO OTHER reason for denying the request to have Bishop Curry preach OTHER than race.

But I imagine it was hard to say yes…

And the reactions and facial expressions bear witness to that difficulty.

But I still wasn’t into it. I still didn’t watch it.

I waited till Bishop Curry’s sermon came out on video! LOL

Then I watched the playback. And, now I’m compelled to say a few things…now I’m somewhat interested! LOL

 

royal wedding bishop curry

And I wasn’t surprised…

The brother can preach.

I remember when I met him in North Carolina while he was Bishop there. It was for a Black Clergy gathering. And he came out to greet us…just to welcome us to his Diocese and his office.

He wasn’t on the agenda…

He wasn’t scheduled to speak…

But he was dropping by to say “hello.”

And his “hello” turned into a resounding sermon proclaiming the glory of God!

…what else do we have…how else are we to welcome one another, but with proclamation of the Gospel.

So, truly his unpacking the Power in Love was a rousing and challenging sentiment. The Way of Love that Bishop Curry presented in his message, is an idyllic vision of the Beloved Community and what the world would look like when we make room for and allow the Spirit of God into our midsts.

Of course, as he’s known to do…

He slips in his references to the Black Experience…acknowledging the reality that there’s a lot to learn about Beloved Community from the witness of the Black Experience in America. And presenting that blessing in homiletic form.

And his presence…

I don’t think they’ve seen anything like it before in that…

His voice so full of joy, it couldn’t be contained by decibels in the normal range of British decorum…

His being so full of passion that he couldn’t be confined to the pulpit…

His entire presence on fire…exhibiting the love that forms the basis of his appeal.

royal wedding bishop curry 2

Seeing that brother, with his soulful Christian witness…

It got me to thinking…

And these are some new thoughts from what I would have had 20 years ago. Not because my thinking would have been different…as it would have been. But because the images were different…

It was hard to imagine a Black man running things in America…

You know…being President of the United States.

And yea…we know he wasn’t running things. We know – and should be able to honestly critique by now – that even those things he ran didn’t always work out as we – the People – truly needed them to work out.

But, since the election of President Obama, it was a little more feasible to imagine certain things as a Black man…to imagine yourself in certain spaces.

royal wedding

 

And not because we saw Dennis Haysbert play President on 24.

 

 

But because we saw a real life Black man as President.

It became possible to really imagine yourself – as a Black man – in those spaces, because of the image of Obama.

Nevertheless…

In similar fashion, it’s hard to imagine a Black man running things in the Episcopal Church…

The Church that spawned from the same British Empire and is the denomination of the elite in every present and former British colony…

The Church which can lay claim to more US Presidents than any other denomination

The Church that was born in the same spirit of the United States, with its inherited legacy of slavery and oppression…

The Church whose pension fund has a dubious relationship with oppression. The Church which owned people as slaves…as an institution!

The Church where leadership is still unapologetically loose with racial epitaphs

Yes: the Episcopal Church…which welcomes “you.”

A Black Man…as the head Bishop?

Now, of course there are forces trying to undermine that…

Powers and principalities trying to maintain the status quo…

But it’s at least possible to see yourself – as a Black priest in the Episcopal Church – in position where you can speak truth to power!

So, I could see myself in that space…at that moment…

…because I had seen Bishop Curry in that space…at that moment.

I could see myself delivering that sermon to Harry and Meghan…

And I wondered what I would have said, if the Lord had called me to that space.

royal wedding irony

Given all the irony I just noted…

About being a Black man in that space, as an authority in the “Anglican Communion.” Speaking to the heirs of the British Empire…

The heirs of Western Civilization. Western dominance. Western hegemony. Slavery. Colonialism. Imperialism. White Supremacy.

And the irony that one of those heirs had brought a half Black woman into the family where we know her race created an issue…

Knowing they would have to navigate that landscape…publicly and privately.

Within the world – and within their family.

They’d have to live with the issues of being a mixed-race couple in a White supremacist world…

And a mixed-race couple on the world stage…

Waiting for every next happening…

How Black will the children be?

How do they respond the next time some racial flare up occurs in Britain or America?

How are they really embraced…how is Meghan really embraced and loved by the family.

How healed is the family from centuries of overt and later subconscious supremacist ideology?

 

 

How they respond would have deep implications for how they are able to bear witness to the glory of God and thereby honor and cherish the love they had been given by God to share.

So, what could be a loving, liberating and life-giving view for this marriage in light of the issues that are circling its foundation? How do we set this marriage on a course that compels it onward and upward toward the Kingdom? How do we give them a Charge to Keep…a God to glorify?

So that in thanksgiving for their love, they respond by proclaiming God in their thoughts, words and deeds…

As royals, they will become lord over their domain…

Like literally, they will be lords over a domain. That domain will have some small geographic footprint in the UK (they’re actually Duke and Duchess of Sussex). But that domain will also be the network of business and philanthropic interests across the Empire.

How will they rule their domain?

How do they rule it in such a way that honors the Spirit as exists amidst the racial irony of this situation…

How do they take what they’ve been given and make Eucharist…

Taking what is brought to them by the world, giving thanks and lifting it up to God, then returning it to the world as something beautiful and praiseworthy…

…something resembling the Kingdom of God.

So…how do they take the issue created by race and turn that issue into an opportunity that transforms their domain into something resembling the Beloved Community and Kingdom of God?

I see that as the priestly function in that space…as the preacher.

To take what the world gives you, lift it up into the Light of the Spirit so it can be touched by the Word and then returned to the world as a body, transformed

Transformed by the revelation of a praiseworthy way to give thanks for love…

You see, Harry and Meghan’s is a love that has the power to have transformative impact on humanity. Even at fifth or sixth in line, Harry is still heir to a domain that has a great deal of influence.

The better Harry and Meghan understand and embrace the priestly part of their role, the better they become about consecrating what the world has brought to them…what their ancestors had extracted from the world, and returning something that resembles Beloved Community.

What are some of the redemptive opportunities you see for the Harry and Meghan through their marriage?

Please log in to view user profiles.