In his 14-minute sermon at the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Saturday, American Episcopalian Bishop Michael Curry stressed the power of sacrificial, receptive love, as Jesus demonstrated in his death.
"We were made by a power of love. Our lives were meant and are meant to be lived in that love. That's why we are here. Ultimately the source of love is God himself. The source of all of our lives," Curry, who became the first African American to preside over the Episcopal Church in 2015, told the invited guests at the wedding ceremony.
Quoting from the Gospel of John, he said, "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; And those who love are born of God and know God. Those who not love does not know God. Why? For God is love."
The 65-year-old bishop from Chicago said Jesus thus summed up the essence of the teachings of Moses: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
He also told the guests that Jesus "died to save us all."
"He didn't die for anything he could get out of it," the bishop continued. "Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He wasn't getting anything out of it. He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life for the good of others, for the well-being of the world, for us. That's what love is. Love is not selfish or self-centered. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, become redemptive. That way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives. And it can change this world."
Curry also quoted the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "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."
The bishop said, "When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the Earth will be a sanctuary."
Prince Harry and Meghan were seen keenly listening to Bishop Curry, holding hands and smiling.
However, London-based national talk and phone-in radio station LBC said Curry perhaps realized his sermon had gone longer than was expected, as the queen is known for not liking sermons that run longer than five minutes.
BBC also indicated the sermon was "too long."
"But Bishop Curry appeared to realise he may have gone on speaking for too long, saying towards the end of the speech that he had better wrap up, as 'we gotta get you all married!'"
Curry was invited by Kensington Palace. "Presiding Bishop Curry, from Chicago Illinois, will travel to Windsor to take part in the Service," it said in the announcement. "He will join The Dean of Windsor, The Rt. Revd. David Conner, who will conduct the Service. The Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will officiate as the couple make their marriage vows."