Recently, the world’s headlines were dominated by the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress, Meghan Markle. Around 18 million people in the UK tuned in to watch it, and millions more around the world. One of the biggest talking points from the day, apart from the famous guests, and Meghan’s dress, was the sermon by Reverend Michael Curry.
He talked about the power of God’s love, to change the world. He said:
“Now, someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history. A movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world and a movement mandating people to live that love. And in so doing to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself.”
This sermon has been repeated and quoted over and over since the wedding. Christians and non-Christians alike were inspired. This is the beauty of the gospel – as Reverend Curry told us, “imagine our neighborhoods and communities where love is the way”.
As Christians, we know that God is love (1 John 4:8). Every one of us is made in the image of this God, we’re all able to love (Matthew 5:46-48). But the love that changes the world is not a mere Christmas goodwill or even charitable concern for those less fortunate, it’s the love of God Himself, poured into our hearts. When that love changes us and overflows from us, it changes the world.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
(1 John 3:16)
If we are going about our lives with this love that Reverend Curry was talking about inside us, we should expect that to have an impact. Our lives should look different to those around us.
When Jesus was on earth, He was always talking about the kingdom. He said that His kingdom was “not of this world” (in John 18:36). He said to his disciples in Luke 17 that the kingdom was “among them”, He also talked about it as something still to come elsewhere in scripture (for example, Luke 19:11-12). It’s both – wherever Jesus is, there the kingdom is. Wherever the king is reigning, His kingdom is established. But we also pray “Your kingdom come” and we look forward to a time when we can live with Jesus in eternity.
The powerful news of the gospel is that it is an invitation: both to look ahead to our eternal future and to be part of God’s work on earth now – the kingdom of God. The kingdom where love is at the centre, where the poor are lifted up and the last shall be the first.
Towards the end of his sermon, Reverend Curry quoted Martin Luther King: “We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world.”
One day Jesus will return to deal the final fatal blow to death and hell. His reign will be complete and his kingdom will last forever. No more sickness, no more hostility, no more death.
Until then, his kingdom grows in the hearts and lives of everyone who believes in him, and God is inviting us in. He’s inviting us to join Him in the great adventure of turning the world the right way up again, step by step, life by life.
What would it mean for your life to be restored to His good plan? What would it look like if your friends, family, neighbours and town really knew the love of God?
In the words of Michael Curry again, quoting the old prophets:
“When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside, to study war no more. When love is the way, there’s plenty good room – plenty good room – for all of God’s children.”
Let’s join Jesus in his great prayer for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth, just as much as it is in heaven. Let’s get reconciled with God, then let’s get started.