For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. ~ Romans 8:14-17
So the Royals continued to be in the news this past week, and Presiding Bishop Michal Curry made the rounds of the talk shows, and for all their gushing over what he said at the wedding, you’d think none of them had ever heard a good sermon before. Which if that’s the case, I’m glad we gave them Michael Curry to make up for it.
One little item in the continuing wedding reporting was the heartwarming rags-to-riches story of Guy the beagle—and I know some of you saw this one. Guy is the little dog who was found wandering in the woods in Kentucky and taken to a shelter where they were going to put him down, but he was rescued and eventually adopted by an actress named Meghan Markle, and last seen riding in a car near Windsor Castle with the Queen of England, who is known for her love of Pembroke Welsh corgis but apparently has some room in her heart for American beagles, as well.
It’s a wonderful story: a little lost dog goes from being homeless to being an adopted member of the royal family, which presumably guarantees a life of privilege and comfort even for a dog.
Through adoption, Guy became a member of a great family. Meghan Markle not only saved him, she lifted him above his beagle station in life, and through her own marriage she made him a royal. It’s a silly little story, really, and yet it’s just so incredibly charming, you’d have to have a really hard heart to resist its appeal.
There is something in us that loves happy endings. We want every lost puppy to have a good home with people who will love him. Isn’t that really what we want for ourselves, as well? And it’s exactly what we’re promised in today’s second reading, from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, where he talks about the spirit of adoption that has made us children of God.
There are a couple of things we get from a good family, whether through adoption or birth. One is knowing that we’re held securely in love, that we’re loved in a way we can truly depend on. Another is having a good name, a family name that gives us our identity and helps us understand exactly who we are in this world.
This is the wealth we stand to inherit through the Spirit that makes us children of God and joint heirs with Christ.
We can count on the love of God in whom we live and move and have our being.
And when we call ourselves Christians, we find our identity in the good name of Christ, and we live up to that name by the Spirit-led way we conduct our whole lives.
Today in church we observe Trinity Sunday, celebrating our belief in a God who is three persons in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—words we affirm as fundamental to our faith even though we know we’ll never fully grasp the depth of the mystery they express.
In the most basic terms, though, we can say that God is love precisely because God is Three-in-One, and has been for all eternity. The very nature of God is self-giving love that connects Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and so desires to be shared with others, it expresses itself in Creation. This love is the source of all that is, including ourselves, and as children of God we are invited to participate in it.
So it is that we are children of God, members of the greatest family there is.
But life in this family isn’t going to be all dog biscuits and riding with the Queen. Meghan Markle is learning that once you get past the glorious TV wedding, membership in the royal family comes with responsibilities and obligations.
And our family has responsibilities and obligations, too. Paul warns that being joint heirs with Christ might mean sharing in his suffering as well as his glory, as we stand up for true love in a world that doesn’t seem to know much about the kind of love that +Michael Curry preached.
Bishop Curry talked about the power of love to change everything, and he asked his listeners to imagine a world “where love is the way.” And love must be the way for those of us who claim membership in the great family of God.
… imagine, he said, a world where love is the way.
Imagine our homes and families where love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way.
Imagine governments and nations where love is the way.
Imagine business and commerce where this love is the way.
Imagine this tired old world where love is the way. When love is the way – unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive.
When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again.
When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook.
When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.
When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside, to study war no more.
When love is the way, there’s plenty good room – plenty good room – for all of God’s children.
Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well… like we are actually family.
When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all, and we are brothers and sisters, children of God.
My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family.
My brothers and sisters, this new human family is our family in God. This new world is our family inheritance, ours to share as joint heirs with Christ, recognizing that God the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer is the source of us all, and love is the only way.
Bishop Michael Curry’s Royal Wedding Sermon: Full Text Of ‘The Power Of Love’, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/20/612798691/bishop-michael-currys-royal-wedding-sermon-full-text-of-the-power-of-love. Accessed May 25, 2018.