Jun 01, 2018A Message of Love

A Message of Love

The Presiding Bishop has handed us a gift in his Royal Wedding address, now it is up to us to make the best use of it.

The Rt. Rev. Martin S. Field Five-minute read.   Resources

The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry Preaching at Trinity Cathedral, Portland Oregon.
Image: Gary Allman

Everywhere I go these days, people ask me, “Did you see Bishop Curry preach at the Royal Wedding?” Well, yes, I did. I assume by now that all Episcopalians have heard about, if not actually seen, our Presiding Bishop’s homily at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel.

In my opinion, Bishop Curry was magnificent. By that evening, people had gone wild trying to search the internet to find out about him. His name quickly became the single most searched name on the entire planet. He was even parodied that same evening on Saturday Night Live.

That he could raise so much interest from a 13-minute homily at a service where he wasn’t supposed to be anything but a bit player tells me that there is in this world, and among our planet’s people a huge hunger for an authentic and love-filled Gospel.  His message that God is love resonated powerfully with a world that has too much experience with hate and divisiveness, too much first-hand knowledge of oppression and bigotry, and too much familiarity with violence and horror.

Certainly, there have been detractors who pronounced his words as so much rubbish, or unfaithful to the Bible, but the overwhelming response says to me that we who follow Christ have a ripe harvest before us if only we can find the courage and the passion to enter the fields. This world, as Bishop Curry often reminds us, does not look the way God intended at creation.  But we have something – the love of God and the companionship of Beloved Community – to offer. If only we will! If only we will.

And that leads me to my hopes and prayers for this summer’s General Convention.  Several thousand folks will gather in Austin, Texas in early July for the triennial gathering of the highest authority in the life of our beloved Church. Hundreds of resolutions will be examined, and votes will be taken. But a smooth legislative process is not what I hope and pray for. I hope and pray for an experience of Beloved Community.  I hope to gather with several thousand kindred souls who love Jesus, are committed to Jesus’ Church and mission, and are faithful to walking together into the future that God guides us to build. 

Can all the problems of Church and society be solved because The Episcopal Church has a convention? Not even remotely. But we can reinvigorate one another. We can hear one another in respect and teach one another by sharing forthrightly and honestly. We can build cohesiveness, collaboration, and clarity of purpose among the many facets that make up our denomination.

The General Convention of The Episcopal Church can, and I hope will, be an example of Beloved Community to our church, to all churches, and to the world.  In Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, he prays for the Church to be one, to live in unity. I frequently note that Jesus did not pray for uniformity; he did not ask us to be the same, like automatons. But he did pray that we would bring our diversity and our complementary differences as an offering toward building a wonderful and united whole: The Church of God.

For that I hope and pray.

The Rt. Rev. Martin Scott Field (Bishop Marty) is the eighth bishop of The Diocese of West Missouri.

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