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Black Theology at the Royal Wedding 

 

Not only was the sermon a punchy articulation of Black Theology in exemplifying God’s love through redemptive history, it served as a reminder of some of the racial injustices that black people still face today, writes Israel Olofinjana



Bishop Michael CurryConversations are ongoing about the preaching of Bishop Michael Curry at the Royal Wedding on Saturday. They cover the length of the message, the awkwardness of the message, the reactions of attendees to the message and the Blackness of the message! Normally the bride’s dress is the main topic of public conversation, but not this time.  

So what's the fuss about?

Firstly, white British people are not used to an African-American style of preaching with emotions involved, gestures and pacing. Secondly, people were somehow expecting a five minute sermon, not the 14 minutes Bishop Curry delivered.

Lastly and most importantly, I think the content of the message which made people uncomfortable. Here was a descendant of slaves speaking passionately about love in the symbol of fire among descendants of slave owners. He used illustrations from slave narratives. It was a very powerful and punchy articulation of Black Theology in exemplifying God’s love through redemptive history.

But in addition, I also think Bishop Curry used the slave narrative possibly as a reminder of some of the racial injustices that black people still face today. He also quoted the civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King on several occasions, again possibly as a reminder that we celebrate his 50 years of being murdered for the cause of racial justice. These are pointers to stir people’s conscience.

Bishop Curry’s message will be analysed for years to come by theologians, Bible scholars, social commentators, media, journalists, political editors and many more because it was historical, biblical, relevant, unique and bold. It is also a message relevant for the Church at a time when some aspects of the Church think we need to move away from sermons to conversations. Bishop Curry’s message reminds us of the power of preaching and how inspiring and creative it can be if in the hands of the right vessel, someone who is willing to be led by God’s Spirit to proclaim the truth and confront power with an uncomfortable truth.

I celebrate this message and how it has brought public debates and conversations about God and racial justice. It comes off the back of the Windrush scandal and the youth violence plaguing the capital and other parts of the UK. All of these events causes me to reflect that God is bringing into the public consciousness issues that have been swept under the carpet. Now they have the public’s attention and can no longer be ignored. 

 

Image | Episcopal Church 



The Revd Israel Olofinjana is the minister of Woolwich Central Baptist Church and Director of the Centre For Missionaries from the Majority World. A version of this reflection appeared on his blog and is used with permission. 

Baptist Times, 21/05/2018
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