After the Most Reverend Michael Curry, the first African-American leader of the Episcopal Church, shook up the otherwise pretty traditional royal wedding with his 14-minute sermon last Saturday, many wondered how the majority British guest list—not to mention the buttoned-up royal family—were reacting. According to Curry himself, however, not only was his sermon approved by the newlyweds and the palace beforehand, but he could also sense the agreement of many wedding attendees throughout his address.
"That whole service had all of the permissions. Nothing would've happened in there without, in some sense, the blessings and permissions," the bishop said on the Today show on Tuesday morning, when British anchor Keir Simmons jokingly thanked Curry for making the royal family "uncomfortable." "So I was aware of that, but I've gotta tell you, I've been doing this for a long time, and I've been in the Episcopal church for a long time, and Episcopalians aren't known for being loud and raucous in church," Curry continued. "But I've learned to be able to hear an 'amen' by looking in their eyes. And I was looking in the eyes of people who were there, and they were doing quiet, British 'amens.'"
Beforehand, though, Curry admitted that he "really didn't know" how his preaching style would go over in St. George's Chapel. "But I knew that they had asked me to come, and that's me. So I showed up," he said, adding that he was "a little nervous" when he first took his spot in front of the congregation. "But then after that, it turned into a church, and I was speaking to a young couple who were in love. I mean, they are so passionately in love with each other, you can see it," he said. "And I was really aware that their love for each other, that you could actually see that, when they looked at each other, that their love was actually, even in that moment, reorienting the world around that love. I mean, all of the divisions and all of the differences were being crossed, and worlds were coming together, and a new world was being created. That's the power."
At Saturday's service, Curry centered his sermon on the "redemptive power of love." "There's power in love. Don't underestimate it. Don't even over-sentimentalize it. There's power, power in love," he said. "Imagine this tired old world where love is the way. When love is the way—unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive. When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside, to study war no more."
And while the Brits in the crowd kept their reactions to Curry's sermon largely hidden, the rest of the world didn't hold back. Of the almost 7 million Facebook and Twitter interactions about the royal wedding, Curry's portion of the big day sparked the most buzz: Nearly 40,000 tweets per minute were reportedly sent while he was addressing the crowd. His sermon also landed him on that night's episode of Saturday Night Live, in which he was portrayed on Weekend Update by Kenan Thompson; Curry, who couldn't stop cracking up at a clip from the show, called Thompson's portrayal "brilliant."