For a brief moment over the weekend, the secular media and the Episcopal Church social media universes melded into one. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s electrifying sermon, broadcast from St. George’s at Windsor Castle to billions of people around the world, ignited a Pentecost style firestorm. After a flurry of tweeting, retweeting, and quick commentaries from all manner of websites and media platforms, even Saturday Night Live got in on the act (and Curry retweeted). Anytime Buzzfeed publishes a sermon, it shows that the world is paying attention.
— PB Michael Curry (@PB_Curry) May 20, 2018
In light of refugee crises, school shootings, and political corruption, we desperately needed that sermon on love. Bishop Curry’s sermon was a powerful statement of God’s sacrificial and abundant love made known to the world in Jesus Christ.
While Episcopalians are rightly proud of how we were represented by Bishop Curry on Saturday, the question could be asked if we, the Church, heard that sermon. At this moment, the temptation for the Church will be to keep reveling in our brief celebrity status instead of hearing this sermon for ourselves. Did we hope only that Bishop Curry’s witness would simply bump our attendance numbers on Sunday? Or, is the Episcopal Church actually willing to listen and respond to this radical way of life that Bishop Curry imagined for us?
As we approach General Convention 2018, the Church needs to reflect on the many ways that we have failed to live into the fullness of God’s love. The Church Pension Group reports that the average total compensation of female clergy lags behind male clergy by 12%. We are still roiled with ongoing property disputes. It seems that lines are already being drawn over Prayer Book revision. Indeed, as Bishop Curry called on the whole world to reflect on the impoverished among us, the Church ought to reflect on the fact that our governance meetings alone are projected to cost millions of dollars over the next triennium.
Imagine what the Church would look like if we also rediscovered the love of God made known to us in Jesus Christ. That love would make this old Church a new Church.
image: Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry gives an address during the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Owen Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS