Something magical, liberating, and life-changing happened on Saturday. Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, an African-American divorcee. The stiff upper lip stuffiness of the royals was forever wed with a young woman who dared to declare to the world, “This is who I am. Take it or leave it.” No posturing. No mask. Just raw, outspoken acceptance of identity in the midst of overwhelming reasons to remain silent.
With the selection of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as their wedding preacher, I knew a new day had finally dawned. As the first African-American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and an internationally renowned preacher, whose life has focused on issues of racial and sexual justice, there was no doubt the royals were in for a rollicking ride. And he did not disappoint. He gave them, and the world, a sermon that will be remembered for generations to come.
Nineteen-year-old British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason also wowed the crowd with a breakout performance. Winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year Award, he is the first black recipient. A new day has finally dawned.
As the Kingdom Choir sang “Stand by Me”, “This Little Light of Mine”, and the traditional gospel song “Amen”, the message became increasingly clear. A new day has dawned. Our love extends beyond ourselves to embrace a hurting, divided world. A new day has dawned in a world where race and nationality do not divide us one from another. A world where we are all God’s children. A world where we are equally loved by and valuable to the One who created us all.
“This is who I am. This is who we are as a couple,” their choices proclaimed for all the world to see. In his sermon, Presiding Bishop Curry was clear about what makes this possible. “The reason has to do with the source,” he proclaimed. “We were made by a power of love and our lives were meant – are meant – to be lived in that love.”
For you see, God has been at work ushering in new life and new realities since the beginning of time. In the Book of Isaiah, the LORD says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19) God is always at work to bring about new life from worn-out ways, love from hate, healing from division, life from death. And just as surely as God was and is at work in the lives of Meghan and Harry, God is also at work in you and me.
God yearns for, longs for wholeness, self-acceptance, healing and love for all of us. God wants nothing but the best for each precious child of God. The LORD tells us, “You are precious and honored in my sight” (Isaiah 43:4). And so we are, each and every one of us.
God is doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it?