Religion, race and royals

Bishop Michael Curry. If you don’t know who he is – ask Google.

He spoke at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday. Quite frankly, the jury is still out on which was the highlight of the day. Meghan’s bridal dress or the preacher’s resounding sermon about love. Oh, lest I forget a third possible talking point was the look on the faces of some in the audience. Our daughter thought this was rather hilarious.

For me though, I was doing what parents of children who are mega involved in sports do on Saturdays. I was in between a League Cup final in Creasy Park, Dunstable and a Hatters Cup tournament at Luton Town football club. I confess to having had my fill of the build-up to the wedding that I was quite content with not hearing a thing further about it. Enter ‘The Sermon’ and promise to self was broken.

Here’s the thing, you rarely see black people, much less, black men in such resplendently regal settings in Britain. Where this happens, it is not in a central role. While I really couldn’t care less about skin colour for the purpose of ticking a political correctness box, it is however impossible not to notice a man, speaking so powerfully with such majestic prose, commanding presence and brilliant oratory – in the presence of power and wealth most of us can only dream of, and he’s a black dude!

For a black person who is working so hard to teach his or her child that blackness doesn’t have to mean what you see on TV, it doesn’t have to mean you should be able to run fast or jump high, it doesn’t have to mean you talk like someone with dysarthia and it certainly doesn’t mean you mustn’t venture beyond your social class – THIS royal wedding and Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon is a huge help.

As a believer in God and one who goes to church every Sunday, what a thrill it was to hear Christian teachings shared in such a universally acceptable way. The core message of all religions that I have studied is precisely what Bishop Curry touched on. Love. Love of fellow inhabitants of this earth, selflessness and compassion. Yes he spoke of Christ as a Christian clergyman, as he should, but to be put-off by that is to have missed out on a great reminder of what life really is all about.

Nevertheless, the focus of his message on how we treat each other in a world where we are so keen to separate and segment ourselves into groups, with the resulting hate that soon follows, was very touching.

For a few minutes, perhaps one too long for some in the audience not so used to evangelical style preachings, religion and faith at their best, were on display for the world to see and hopefully accommodate.

I am delighted for Prince Harry and Megan Markle now The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their new union. I wish them happiness and thank them for helping to bring Britain together in a way they probably didn’t envisage.

In a few hours of national celebration; race, religion and royalty came centre stage in demonstrating what Britishness is all about. The Sun Newspaper summed this is up brilliantly:

“The Royal Wedding ceremony was a wonderful symbol of the country we have become — proud of our history, secure in our identity, open, warm-hearted and brilliantly diverse”

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