The Power of Love
The Royal Wedding was watched by an estimated 1.9 Billion people worldwide. In Derbyshire, I witnessed the marriage of Elizabeth Bennett to Mr Darcy performed by the Hathersage Players - a great performance!
Love is definitely in the air, and after the passionate address by Chicago-born Bishop Michael Curry those billions of people can surely be left in no doubt about the Gospel message of Love for all people. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had that captive audience every Sunday? We would get amazing results in those statistics showing signs of growth and enough pledges to the common fund to support all our ministry needs. Above all the kingdom would grow, full of people willing to show love to one another and make a difference in the world. This was partly born witness by the number and variety of guests The Duke and Duchess of Sussex invited to their wedding who had contributed in some way to change lives and show love to their neighbours. This is Christian witness.
We are all called as Disciples of Christ to live out our Baptismal promises which means telling the Christian Story, the Gospel of Love to our families, friends and neighbours. The Ministry of All Believers, our Church, our Diocese, our Faith will only grow if we live out this Love in Action in all parts of our lives. We have to BE the church as best we can for every time and every place.
Since becoming your Archdeacon of Chesterfield, I have been wonderfully welcomed and embraced by the people of God. As we are getting settled as a family, we are experiencing the wonder of this beautiful part of the world. Various people have shown me around the different areas, visiting the different churches and attending special events. I am excited to be invited to come along and preach or take a service, and it is just lovely to be part of the communities. At this time of year too we have celebrated Ascensiontide following the Archbishops call to prayer “Thy Kingdom Come.” Churches all over the Diocese have hosted events, some focused on Christian Aid week as we ‘Stand Together’ with one voice for the injustice in our world.
This is what it should all be about. At the Ascension we remember Jesus departure from his resurrected body to a heavenly body, symbolised by the disciples looking up to the Heavens. Jesus is no longer contained, but Free for all the world. We can make that happen! The horse chestnut - the Ascension Tree - is now in full flower. If you look carefully you will see that the flowers are like big candles pointing to heaven and the leaves point in all directions- to the ends of the earth!
As Bishop Michael Curry preached, “There is great power in love, and If you don’t believe me, just stop and imagine. Think and imagine a world where love is the way. Imagine our homes and families where love is the way. Imagine neighbourhoods and communities where love is the way. Because when love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all, and we are brothers and sisters, children of God.”
So, wherever you are, whoever you talk to, try to be an agent of Love in the world, to speak out, and enable signs of growth to flourish and go deep into every heart.
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of”.
(Burt Bacharach / Hal David)