'That sermon' and the learning of love
Posted by Simon Parke, 21 May 2018, 3.38pm
The wedding of Harry and Meghan will be remembered for many wonders.
And one of the wonders was the sermon by Bishop Curry.
No one - least of all some of the open-mouthed royal party – was expecting that.
‘Inspirational’ was the sense on Twitter. Ed Miliband even said he was tempted to become a believer. (Steady there, Ed.)
And the lead story was love.
Towards the end of the thirteen minute oration, (it was meant to be six) the bishop quoted Teilhard de Chardin.
If human beings ever ‘harness the energies of love,’ he said, ‘then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.’
And earlier, in a similar vein, the bishop had drawn on Dr. Martin Luther King:
‘We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.’
Apparently the bishop mentioned love over sixty times; this sermon was a love story, which moved many.
‘Yes, yes, yes!’ we declared.
So why don’t we? And why won’t we? Because, to be honest, not much has changed since MLK.
What lies beyond our post-sermon emotional high? Back to the same old, same old, with a little guilt now thrown in?
We need inspirational speakers, inspirational people. You’ll have your own.
They somehow point a way for you, give you something to aspire to; they energise, draw you into the journey, give you hope.
But beyond inspiration, it’s the ‘How’ of love that begs attention.
‘I want to love but how will I do that? It’s no use telling me to love, if you don’t also tell me how…because most of the time I don’t.’
My sense and understanding is that we are made of love; this is our composition.
We are made of different sorts of love, of course, so each of us will express it in different ways.
And that’s OK, it’s still love.
But then stuff comes along…possessiveness perhaps, or the need to control, extinguishing other people’s space; or anxious manipulation; or feelings of insecurity… a bid for power, slothful deceit, an exhausted and intolerant spirit, a fear of outcomes, depressed cynicism, social anxiety, hysterical over-reaction… or a head fucked by wheedling negativity.
(And that’s just before breakfast.)
And suddenly, instead of being what we are, which is love, we become what we are not - though we may dress it as virtue to ourselves.
Truth is nothing more than the awareness of error, (for truth pre-exists)... and so it is with love.
It’s not about adding things or reading more or trying harder or feeling guiltier… or blaming others for not doing it.
It’s simply about removing attitudes from our own lives; letting them go and then letting them go again.
And what is left is love.
The sooner we dare notice unhelpful energies arising in us, attitudes from damaged pasts, then the sooner we return to love… to what and to who we are.
Beyond inspiration, which is lovely, is the ‘how’ of love. And with patience and self-kindness we are learning.
It is the learning of love, the learning of how we ourselves might be love, in our own way.
And in such letting go, in such glorious subtraction, behold!...
We make the old world new every day.