It’s been two days since the royal wedding and, as expected, everyone is still talking about it.
‘What did you think of the dress?’ ‘Didn’t Harry look handsome!’ and ‘Amal Clooney’s outfit was just stunning’ are still being whispered in offices and across dining tables.
Another name that keeps coming up is The Most Reverend Bishop Michael Curry, who is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in the USA… although most people are calling him ‘the preacher’, because he’s black, because corny American films tell us to, because people need to differentiate him from the Archbishop of Canterbury who performed the marriage vows, without using the word ‘black’ or ‘African-American’.
During the address he spoke about the power of love, quoted Martin Luther King, and, as British novelist Diana Evans put it so succinctly ‘he did it black’.
Gesticulating, robes swinging, smiling, laughing, joking, full of passion - Bishop Michael Curry came at the recommendation of the Archbishop of Canterbury (not Meghan Markle’s as some have assumed) and he refused to water down his passionate message about love just because he delivered his message differently to those who spoke at previous royal weddings.
You weren’t supposed to keep a ‘stiff upper lip’ through this one, it was OK to laugh.
Two main reactions jumped out as you scrolled through Twitter during and after his sermon.
The first group of people were surprised, shocked, alarmed, bored and unsettled.
The second group are people who grew up listening to this kind of sermon every Sunday, those who are familiar with seeing the orator use an iPad, used to church services running over, used to laughing and joking and interacting with the sermon, used to being told to turn to their neighbour and repeat a key sentence the pastor has said, used to services guided by how the Holy Spirit moves and not by time restrictions, used to the speaker saying they’re done and then going on for another half an hour.
They were also surprised, but full of joy, in awe, excited, proud and overcome with emotion.
Charlene White responded to Piers Morgan’s column in the Daily Mail, in which he said his son rang him after Curry’s sermon and said; ‘Can you imagine what this must mean to a black American – seeing a black preacher make that kind of speech at a traditionally white British Royal Wedding? This was history happening right before our eyes. I love this wedding!’
White reminded him that it's not just black Americans that felt seen on Saturday.
Sermons that sound and feel like Bishop Michael Curry’s happen every Sunday up and down the UK, but reactions to him make it feel as though we’ve been living in two completely different worlds.