This past Saturday, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. And Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate the birth of the Christian faith.
Both of these events were surrounded by metaphors of wind, breath, and fresh air.
In the Christian tradition, God created the first human by breathing life into that which was lifeless. And when the Holy Spirit came upon believers, she came in the form of wind and tongues of fire, breathing new life into a community that could have been tempted to give up on the future. Breath, wind, life.
In the same way, many of us look forward to spring. Here in Michigan, the winters are long, and we eagerly anticipate the day when we can throw open our windows, air our homes, “spring clean” our lives. There’s nothing like the feel, and smell, of those early breezes that clear our minds to make room for the fresh and new.
On Saturday, a bride and groom said their vows. An ordinary life event in many ways, except this was a first: A “senior” member of the royal family chose a bride who is American, biracial, and a divorcee – a bride that, even a generation ago, he would have been forbidden to marry. If you watched the ceremony, you could see the love these two have for one another. Love won out (love always wins in the end), and these two are a fresh breeze blowing through an ancient institution. I expect they are going to do great things and have an extraordinary life together.
The sermon at their wedding service was preached by an African-American who was born in Chicago, educated at Yale, and began his career in the American south. The reaction shots of the British, Anglican congregation were telling. This was not the type of sermon – or preacher – they were accustomed to. Some looked uncomfortable, others looked amused, but a fresh breeze was blowing through that ancient church that day.
Let’s pray for a fresh wind to blow through our lives, our country, and our culture – a wind that will sweep out old hatreds and prejudice, and give us the breath of life.
PS – If you missed Bishop Curry’s sermon, you can find it here. It’s a fresh breeze.