Love could help heal a 'deeply divided' United States: Bishop Michael Curry
Man who delivered Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s wedding sermon says love can help us live for the common good
The man who delivered Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's impassioned wedding sermon in 2018 says the fact that his message resonated not only in the church, but around the world, is a testament to our hunger for love.
"I had conversations with people of all stripes and types wherever I travelled, about the sermon, about the message. And that was rather remarkable," Bishop Michael Curry told The Current's Matt Galloway.
"I was in Washington on Capitol Hill about a week later and literally I had conversations across the aisles with Republicans and Democrats who wanted to talk about love."
Curry was elected as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in 2015, becoming the first African American to hold the position. His homily at the royal wedding made headlines, and drew on everything from the words of Martin Luther King Jr., to a song sung by his enslaved ancestors, to explain the liberating power of love.
His new book is called Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times.
As the descendant of slaves and activists, Curry sees his presence at the royal wedding as a sign of hope.
"My slave ancestors, I quoted one of their songs that they sang in their desperation, in their nightmare of slavery — There Is a Balm in Gilead," said Curry.
"And for one moment, their voices were heard at the centre of what once was the empire that actually enslaved them... That's a miracle."
At a time when the United States is "deeply divided and troubled," Curry said he refuses to give up that hope.
"Dr. King once said progress does not happen on wheels of inevitability," said the bishop.
"I am committed and bound and determined to work toward the kind of change that is lasting, that is not one side winning and another side losing…. If I didn't believe we could do it, I'd give up. And I'm not giving up."
However, preachers should not be in the business of partisan politics, he said.
That's why, in these times of deep division, he tries to serve as a moral leader.
'We've got to face that pain,' says bishop
The Episcopal Church, for example, is encouraging people to speak — and listen — to one another by facilitating a "civil discourse" around race and other controversial issues, Curry said.
It's the kind of conversation he believes the United States needs to have around its racial history, and its treatment of Indigenous people, slaves and immigrants.
"We've got to face the pain of that, but face it so that we can learn from it together to turn toward a new future and to build that new future together."
It's hard work, Curry added.
Where you see that sacrifice for the common good, you are actually seeing love in action in the public sphere.- Bishop Michael Curry- Bishop Michael Curry
"But that's the kind of work that changes hearts, changes lives, and that has the potential to change a society."
And practising love can help, he said.
Love shows up in our world when we make a commitment to live for the common good, Curry explained.
"There has been no human progress on this Earth that has moved forward for the good, that hasn't been the result of somebody making a sacrifice," the bishop said.
"And where you see that sacrifice for the common good, you are actually seeing love in action in the public sphere."
Written by Kirsten Fenn. Produced by Ines Colabrese.