Break Apart Your Stony Self

When Bishop Michael Curry delivered his sixteen-minute sermon this past week at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, he didn't hold back.  

His sermon, which was unabashedly Jesus-centered and love-focused quickly became the most memorable moment of the ceremony.  

He preached with a passion and power that had hitherto been unseen or heard in the hallowed halls of St. George's chapel.  Millions upon millions of people heard his stirring and inspiring words on the power of love to overcome injustice and heal all wounds.  

The British newspaper, The Guardian put it like this:  "The American bishops did it black. And he shocked the congregation by refusing to tone down his passionate message on power and love."  

I've been thinking a great deal about why Curry's sermon caused such a stir.  Those words written in The Guardian speak volumes.  People were shocked that he didn't tone down "his passionate message on power and love."  Shocked.  

They were shocked to hear a message of love from a Christian preacher.  

The reaction to Curry's sermon reveals that those of us who claim to follow Jesus have been working too hard to answer questions that almost no one is really asking.  Our hearts have become hardened to our culture.  We've become focused on defining ourselves by what we are not.  

So many of us have reduced our faith to a series of steps or a checklist that must be completed.  We've taken the big story of the Gospel and made it into a set of demands or obligations that no one can truly meet.  

Richard Rohr wrote about this when he said: "Up to now, you haven't really loved God; you've largely been afraid of God.  You've been trying to prove yourself to God."  

It's time we chipped away at our hardened hearts and allow them to become soft again for the center and true foundation of our faith: the great love, grace and inclusive embrace of God expressed through Jesus.  

The 13th century poet Rumi wrote: 

"... but come! Take a pick-axe 
and break apart 
your stony self 

the heart's matrix 
is glutted with rubies 
springs of laughter 
are buried in your breast."  

Today, instead of working so hard to try to prove your love for God--why not simply be still and allow yourself to feel the love of God for you?  Don't be afraid to let the hard shell around your heart begin to break.  

And learn to live in such a way that no one is shocked to hear that the love you feel from God is the kind of love that is freely offered to all.  

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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