By Kirk Petersen
A year later, people are still talking about the Royal Wedding sermon.
More accolades came last week from the Sandford St. Martin Trust, a UK-based religious charity, which distributed its annual awards at Lambeth Palace. As was announced last month, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry received the Sandford St. Martin Trustees’ Award for “outstanding contributions to broadcasting about religion, ethics or spirituality.”
Curry was not at the ceremony, but provided a seven-minute video of acceptance, which is viewable below or on the Trust’s website. He told the trustees he was especially grateful to the media for focusing on the sermon, because “it provided me an opportunity to talk about Jesus of Nazareth and his way of love, in a context when I never would have had that opportunity before.”
In the video, Curry reflected on the experience.
“I didn’t know how the sermon was received in any depth, in any real way, until I got to Heathrow, and all of a sudden people were taking my picture. I couldn’t quite figure out why these people were taking pictures of me. I’ve walked through the airport before and nobody took pictures.”
After making the rounds of the network talk shows, Curry cautiously accepted an invitation for an interview on TMZ, an online entertainment tabloid not known for reverence. The site is aimed at young adults, and Curry said he was momentarily speechless at one question. The interviewer said young people want to believe in his message of love, but want to know, “can love really work in a world where hatred and bigotries and violence are real?”
After thinking a moment, Curry said:
I believe that love can work. Actually, it’s the only thing that ever has worked. That’s love. There has never been any social change, there has never been any change for the good done by human beings [that was] wrought by selfishness. But unselfish, sacrificial love has changed the world. It’s changed it before, it can change it again. It’s the way of Jesus. It’s the way of God. And it’s the way of life.
The Rt. Rev. Jan MacFarlane, Bishop of Repton and chair of the Sandford St. Martin Trust, said Curry’s sermon was “instrumental in shining a spotlight on the central role faith plays in the wider social discourse, not least in the most significant moments of our lives.”