In a semi-wake state early last Sunday morning I heard TRE radio telling me that the Man of the Match was Bishop Curry from the USA. He wasn't playing for either Chelsea or Manchester United. He was the preacher at the royal wedding. He was brilliant. Some said he was too long, others that it wasn't sombre enough for the occasion, but Bishop Curry certainly got my vote.
His sermon caught the imagination of the congregation. I was asked, before the Sunday San Pedro 10am service started, if I would be “doing a Curry” that morning. Certainly “doing a curry” will have a new meaning in our household from now on!
If you missed it, watch it on catch up. When I heard that two billion watched the royal wedding (more than one quarter of the population of the world), I had to do a double take to hear the number again. Did two billion people really hear Bishop Curry talk about the power of love in Jesus Christ and how that power can revolutionise our world?
There among the most shiny of people (Hello magazine photographers must have been in their element) with the most expensive gowns and outlandish hats, this man told them that the commands Jesus quoted, to love God and love our neighbour (and ourselves as well), were completely key to our quality of life. If only we could incorporate the power of love into our families (camera pans across faces of people thinking about families), into our politics (camera had already found a politician or two), into our business life (camera searching for business people), and social media (camera zooms out - they are all on social media!), then we would have a new world, an extraordinarily brilliant world - an as-God-planned-it-to-be world.
It was moving stuff. Unusually for a sermon (I know!) no one nodded off, people were focused wondering what this guy going to say next.
Meanwhile I'm thinking about what I am going to preach at Pentecost (the day after the wedding). Pentecost was when 'all of them' - that is the early church, 120 or so, were all in one place and the Holy Spirit lifted their hearts and minds to a new understanding of what God needed them to be. It transformed them.
I remember being ordained in Lichfield Cathedral. I was nervous, focused on the words we had practised (and the fact that the bishop's shoelace was undone). Suddenly something happened and along with virtually all in the cathedral, we were crying and laughing. However unemotional Church of England I was meant to be, we were engulfed by a power beyond ourselves. It was amazing and life-changing.
If Bishop Curry's sermon touched only one tenth of one per cent of those who listened, then two million will have felt that same Spirit stirring in them. If it was you - Halleluiah! See you on Sunday!