Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7a, NRSV
Bishop Michael Curry’s amazing 13-minute royal wedding sermon began with the verses above followed by this quote:
We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
He explained that we shouldn’t underestimate the power of that love because its source is God and its why we are here:
There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. There’s power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense, in which when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right. There’s something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of Love. Our lives are meant to be lived in that love—that’s why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself—the source of all of our lives.
He backed this up with a quote from John:
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8, NRSV
Sometimes the way forward seems impossible but because love is from God:
There is power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.
As someone who believes that God’s love will succeed “when nothing else can”, I take the “died to save us all” (which Curry repeated) to literally mean that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, each and every person will be saved—healed, liberated, and lifted up.
[Jesus] sacrificed his life for the good of others, for the well-being of the world, for us. That’s what love is.
The highest good and well-being of others is to be in a mutually loving union with God. As Jesus demonstrated, this is a voluntarily self-sacrificial relationship.
When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook.
Setting things right (justice) and right relationships (righteousness) will flow out of this love.
When love is the way, there is plenty of good room for all of God’s children. Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other 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.
I agree that one of the implications of each and every person being a child of God is that we should try to treat people as family (see Everyone is a child of God).
Curry concluded by going back to the initial passage and reflecting on the why love is like fire.
There was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good. … Fire makes all that possible. And de Chardin said that fire was one of the greatest discoveries of all of human history. He then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it would be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.
God—the ultimate Royal—is often associated with fire in the Bible. Like God, fire is immensely powerful, it is essential to human civilization, it invigorates, it transforms, and it purifies (Surprising Fire). Praise God that the royal wedding proclaimed to the world that the Royal’s redemptive Love is unquenchable!