It's a little on the nose to talk about the Royal Wedding today, but since it's all pretty new information to me, I can't help myself. Plus, after getting pieces of news yesterday, there are two areas I've got to know more about: Meghan Markle and Reverend Curry's sermon. Prior to her engagement to Prince Harry, I had never heard the name Meghan Markle. Until a week ago, I don't think I could have told you who Prince Harry was marrying without some prompting, and even yesterday I knew absolutely nothing about Meghan. However, in the the few minutes of wedding coverage that I saw, the praise of both who she is and what she does was so effusive that I was left desperate to know...well, who she is and what she does. And the sermon. On a day filled with pageantry, fashion and fairy tale, the sermon stole the show? There is no more lead up necessary: that is a sermon I must hear and understand. Full stop.
First, always, the bride. After spending some time reading bios and articles about her today, the effusive praise of Meghan does not seem unfounded. A 36-year-old Californian, she began an acting career after graduating from Northwestern in 2003. While she's had a number of roles, she was best known for her part in Suits, a USA legal drama, that premiered in 2011. (An aside, an 8-year-old, cable, legal drama is right up my alley - adding it to my list of shows to watch when my husband is out of town). In the midst of Suits, she began The Tig, a lifestyle blog that she was editor-in-chief of. Etc., etc. etc. She is smart and talented and has done a lot of things. I could spend more time cataloging them, but the passion that emerged yesterday seemed less about her resume and more about her heart for people, social justice, and equality. She's been a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada and an advocate for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women. Helping to endear her to the public, she has been open about her difficulty finding her identity as a biracial women - her mother is black and her father is white. She does not shy away from difficult or controversial issues, is passionate about empowering women, considers herself a "citizen of the world," and
Photo: Time http://time.com/5281096/meghan-markle-multicultural-britain/
takes this classification seriously. To try to summarize it, perhaps clumsily, she is outspoken about her beliefs in social justice and equality and her words come with action. This is a princess, or Duchess, that I can get behind. And, not for nothing, to all those little girls out there watching: while she had a fairy-tale wedding and literally married the prince, it was after she first found her voice, her professional identity, and her passion for service. Can we make that a Disney classic - the social justice-advocating, late-30s princess?
And then there was a show-stealing sermon. As a proud Episcopalian, I can assure you that while we talk about many things after church, it is almost never the sermon. And somehow, in this day of festivities, celebrities, and extraordinary hats, the sermon was not only not overlooked, but was the headline. Shocking, until you listen.
The sermon was delivered by an American, Reverend Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and the first African-American to serve in this role. Curry focused his entire message on the redemptive power of love. I will not do it justice in summary, so I recommend listening to it in full, but the question I was trying to answer in watching it - and in writing this - is: what made it stand out so boldly. I think one thing is Reverend Curry - an engaging, passionate, black American can't help but stand out a bit at a British Royal wedding. Next is his message, which was profound in its simplicity: love. Love should define everything that we do and it should change our lives and consequently the lives of everyone that we interact with. Finally, for me his sermon was so compelling because of its accessibility. He closed by saying, "Dr. King was right. We must discover love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world." In a world where hate seems to be front and center and can feel paralyzing, how perfect to hear a reminder of what we can do, right now, whoever and wherever we are, to help combat it. It was extraordinarily powerful and a sermon that even Episcopalians will be talking about over our evening wine.
Weddings, particularly royal ones, are always festive and filled with hope, but this one seemed particularly so. And, after having learned more about the new Duchess of Sussex and the preaching of Reverend Curry, I feel encouraged and inspired. May we all follow Rev. Curry's words this week, "Love God, love your neighbors, and while you're at it, love yourself."