The power of love

Posted in Blog, Christianity, Christmas

What were you doing on Saturday 19 May this year? I think it’s quite likely that you were one of apparently two billion people throughout the world who watched on TV the wedding of Harry and Meghan in St George’s Chapel. What did you think of the sermon by the Most Rev Michael Curry? It wasn’t typically CofE was it!

The theme of his sermon was the redemptive power of love. ‘There’s power in love,’ he said. ‘Don’t underestimate it. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to centre around you and your beloved.’

Michael Curry insisted that there’s a certain sense in which ‘when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you, and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right’. There’s something right about it. And the reason that there’s something right about love has to do with its source. ‘We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant, and are meant, to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here … The source of love is God himself: the source of all our lives.’ There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. ‘There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live.’

Michael Curry spoke of the self-sacrificial love which sent Jesus to die for us on a cross and then asked us to imagine a world where love is the way: where love is the way in our homes and families, neighbourhoods and communities, governments and nations, business and commerce and in what he called ‘this tired old world’.

The same point was made over 150 years earlier by another Anglican with rather a different style, Christina Rossetti, when she wrote her beautiful poem more recently set memorably to music by John Rutter. Her poem begins:

Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love Divine,

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and Angels gave the sign.

It is my prayer that, as we prepare ourselves for Christmas 2018, we may come to a new understanding of the redemptive power of love.