The bishop, the first African-American to preside over his church, asked guests in St George's Chapel to imagine how governments, countries and business could change "when love is the way". "No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that ...and more »
Love has the power to heal the world, the congregation at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has heard.
Bishop Michael Curry's energetic address included references to the civil rights movement and focused on the power of love, with a positive message about how love for all can overcome difference.
Quoting Martin Luther King the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church told guests that they must harness the "redemptive power of love" in order to right the world's wrongs.
The address had a more universal focus than has been heard in previous royal weddings, with the bishop's message focusing on problems such as war, poverty and hunger, rather than on the couple's marriage.
An impassioned speech was given by The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry Credit: The Washington Post
The hopeful, outward-looking message gives a sense of the couple's priorities and reflects their experience and interest in campaigning, charity work and advocacy.
Christianity has the power to change the "very life of the world itself," he said. "Love god, love your neighbours, and while you're at it, love yourself."
"There's power in love - don't underestimate it", he said. "Don't even over-sentimentalise it".
"If you don't believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to centre around you and your beloved."
The bishop, the first African-American to preside over his church, asked guests in St George's Chapel to imagine how governments, countries and business could change "when love is the way".
"No child would go to bed hungry in such a world as that. Poverty would become history in such a world as that," he said.
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"The love of which we speak is not only for couples getting married or just for interpersonal relationships," he told the congregation.
"Jesus of Nazareth taught us that the way of love is the way to a real relationship with the God who created all of us, and the way to true relationship with each other as children of that one God, as brothers and sisters in God’s human family."
In an address focused on unity and peace the bishop also quoted controversial Jesuit and Roman Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who said in his 1934 book The Evolution of Chastity that if human beings ever "harness the energies of love, then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire."
Prince Harry looks at his bride, Meghan Markle, as she arrives accompanied by the Prince of Wales in St George's Chapel Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA
He also included one of his most often-quoted spiritual passages, "There Is a Balm in Gilead", which is frequently used as a hymn in African American churches.
Other passages came from St Paul's letter to the Corinthians, 1 John 4, the Song of Songs, and the work of US theologian Charles Marsh, who has written extensively about religion in the civil rights movement.
The choice to quote the Song of Songs echoes the reading by Lady Jane Fellowes, Prince Harry’s aunt and sister of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, from the same text.
Bishop Michael Curry, 65, is the most senior figure in the US Episcopal Church, a liberal sister church of the Church of England.
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He was elected to lead the church in 2015 after 15 years as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
His church is among the most progressive in the world, having appointed its first openly gay bishop in 2003 and approved a rite of blessing for same-sex relationships in 2012.
He has presided over a particularly controversial period in the church's history, with the it voting in July 2015 to allow gay couples to marry in religious ceremonies, shortly after he was elected to a nine-year term as its presiding bishop.
The choice reflects the couple's interest in civil rights and support for LGBT people.
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They told activists at the recent Commonwealth heads of government meeting that they would put gay rights at the forefront of their agenda.
The preacher has an energetic, humorous speaking style, which incorporates singing, references to the civil rights movement and politics.
Another trademark aspect of his sermons, "one more thing, and then I'll sit down", was also employed, as he told the couple "we've got to get you all married".
He also quipped about Jesus walking on water, telling guests "I didn't walk across the Atlantic to get here".
At the wedding of Prince William in 2011 the address was given by then-Bishop of London Richard Chartres, who spoke about the meaning of marriage.
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