“.. the most revolutionary movement in human history: a movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world.” 

What Jesus began .. - Bishop Michael Curry speaking at the royal wedding

This commentary was going to be about shareholder rights, but when I heard Bishop Curry’s address on Saturday there was no contest, particularly on reading again the ‘Imagine’ section from the transcript text, helpfully uploaded onto the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website on Saturday afternoon.

Michael Curry spoke of love advocating that, just as humanity had driven its development with the power of fire, so it should now do so with unconditional love: a powerful parallel indeed. But the key thing about unconditional love is that needs to flow like water – to go viral, and its benefit, unlike fire, will rise exponentially as it spreads uncontrollably.

 As readers will know, there are two quotes to which I often return: one by William Gladstone in 1879, the other by Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania at the General Synod just a few years ago.

The first speaks of the ‘mutual love’ which floods the universe, and all our world, and is not restricted by any borders. It’s this love of which Bishop Michael Curry was speaking at the royal wedding on Saturday.

The second uses the analogy of the river Jordan to illustrate how it must flow like water – if we try to bottle it up it won’t work. Michael Curry used fire to demonstrate the potential of its power but, unlike fire, unconditional love must become viral to deliver its potential.

After summarising its key characteristics, he went on in his ‘Imagine’ section to list a series of ‘big ticket’ areas where enormous change can be achieved. Here’s the text from this part of his address, and after each section a summary in italics of how this commentary sees the opportunity, and links to earlier opinion pieces:

“Love is not selfish and self-centred. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world.

“If you don’t believe me, just stop and imagine. Think and imagine a world where love is the way ..

Our challenge is to turn Michael Curry’s challenges into pragmatic solutions like these based on that core of unconditional love – and to realise that the best way to make them come about is for that love to go viral, spread by all of us.

However his address was a refreshing return to the heart of the Christian faith that I had not anticipated when I wrote last week: What the secular world sees is club-like tradition of music and ceremony, which will be further emphasised in next weekend’s royal wedding, rather than supporting the weakest and most disadvantaged.”

I am delighted to have been proved wrong.

Gavin Oldham

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