by Christine Sine
I was one of 2 billion people around the world who watched the wedding celebrations of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday. Like many I tuned in to enjoy the spectacle of medieval pageantry, archaic customs and pretty hats and heard instead a message of God’s inclusive love. If you haven’t listened to Michael Curry’s sermon yet it is well worth listening to and meditating on.
On Sunday, I celebrated Pentecost, that awe inspiring day of joy and passion that proclaims the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here too we heard the message of inclusive love. Under God’s banner there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave or free. All are one in Christ. In God’s kingdom there are no illegal aliens, no undocumented workers, no abandoned or despised ones. In all our diversity of culture, language and creed we are welcomed into the family of God.
Both these events were incredible celebrations of hope and promise. The power of love can transform the world and make all things new.
Pentecost reminds us that God brings us together in diversity and uniqueness to break down barriers of prejudice, race and class and become one new family. The royal wedding gave us a glimpse of this as it brought together a remarkable couple across what once would have been insurmountable barriers of race, culture and prejudice.
Is This A Move of God?
In the last few months I have lived under a cloud of discouragement and doubt wondering what has happened to the power of God. We seem to live in a world of increasing racism, violence and environmental degradation. We continue to build walls not bridges. The loving unity God calls us to seems further away than ever.
Yet this weekend I caught a glimpse of something new that God is doing. That an African American woman could marry into the British royal family sends a powerful message. That one of the charities people were invited to support focuses on menstrual hygiene in India is remarkable. That the couple are concerned enough about sustainability to design beautiful floral displays that use local and seasonal flowers and greenery is remarkable. That Prince Harry has finally come out to talk about his own mental health crisis and his concern for the disabled is heartwarming. Change is possible, barriers of race, gender prejudice, mental health and pollution can be overcome.
I do believe God is doing something new. We have already seen it in Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movements. We have seen it in the young people standing up for gun reform and an end to school violence.
God Does Not Build Walls
This weekend reminded me that borders and walls designed to keep people out are created by humankind not by God. It is easy for all of us to lose sight of God’s passion for a world reunited in love and mutual care. It is easy to lose sight of God’s delight in diversity. It is much easier to judge than to include.
Not surprising really. Pentecostal fire comes with a price. To be transformed by the Holy Spirit we must die to anything that prevents us becoming united to each other in love. And that of course means dying to prejudices – prejudices against the royalty who have enslaved and impoverished many in the past, prejudices against those of different races, sexual persuasion or religious creeds, prejudices against those who suffer from mental illness – all these must die if we are to find the unity God asks of us.
I feel that this new royal couple has brought us one step closer to the unity God desires of us. Yes I know they are far from perfect and if we want to we can criticize much of who they are and what they stand for or we can stand with them for a world changed and made new.
The question in my own heart is What can I do to join this movement towards love? What can I do to bring us one step closer to the unity God desires of us? I hope that the same questions are stirring in your heart.