Do you know what I discovered last Saturday? I got zapped by the Holy Ghost while watching the Royal Wedding. In fact, when it happened, I got up and did the Holy Ghost jig. (For the uninitiated, it’s what happens to you when the spirit of the Lord infuses your body with so much love and joy that you just can’t contain yourself and start dancing like nobody is watching.
Before you go all “judgy” on me, let me explain. I am not an Anglophile, nor am I a celebrity watcher. So it wasn’t Meghan and Harry, George and Amal, or Serena and Alexis, or Oprah “per se” who got my jig on. (Although, had I received an invite to attend the wedding, I might have lost my mind and my cool right there in Windsor Castle—I’m not gonna lie. I’d be all like: “SERENA…OPRAH…OH MY GOD, THERE GOES IDRIS ELBA…I LOVE YOU IDRIS—I’M ALMOST 70 YEARS OLD, BUT I COULD STILL HAVE YOUR BABY!!!!” Maybe that’s why I never got an invite—they couldn’t trust me not to act a fool.)
Before the wedding, I was feeling kind of in the dumps—really out of sorts. There have been a rash of “living while Black” racial incidents throughout our country that made me want to crawl into my bed and never leave my house. (As one of my Black friends said recently: “I thought we’d gotten past all this shit.”) Cops are being called by White people on Black people who are simply trying to have a meeting in a coffee shop, take a nap in one’s own dorm common room at Yale, have a Sunday picnic in a park, check out of an Airbnb one had rented, and golf with one’s girlfriends. In other words, instead of misguided White people just calling the cops on Black people who are merely “Walking while Black” or “Shopping while Black” (that was egregious enough in years past and has happened to me countless times), cops are being called on Black folks for “Living while Black.” It seems the Confederate flag wavers, Confederate statue lovers, and Jim Crow crusaders will not stop until their sewer stench of racism permanently covers our beautiful country from coast to coast. That’s enough to make every self-respecting Black person and righteous White person want to stand up and holler, and holler, and holler: “WHITE FOLKS—STOP CALLING THE POLICE ON BLACK FOLKS WHO ARE SIMPLY TRYING TO LIVE!”
And then along came the Royal wedding. Speaking of Black folks “living while Black,” wow! No wonder I got the Holy Ghost jig. In a country and a family where the deepest color on Royal display is the ginger color of Prince Harry’s beard, new blood marched triumphantly into the chapel in Windsor Castle and announced: “Guess who’s coming to dinner, breakfast, Christmas, Easter, and every day in between all over this blessed kingdom!”
FIRST: You had your Black princess. True, she looks White, but as with Barack Obama, sometimes we have to give White folks “a spoon full of honey to make the medicine go down” when it comes to getting out of the way so that us Black folks can fulfill our destinies.
SECOND: You had your Black Gospel Choir singing, “Stand by Me” and “This Little Light of Mine.” There are more sophisticated gospel songs, but these were perfect for an interracial couple’s marriage. As part of an interracial marriage for 39 years, I know that standing by each other is what the Royal couple will need most when racism constantly washes up on their shores. (It doesn’t matter how “light skin” Meghan is, haters still gonna hate.) I kept on dancing, but I started crying because there is no greater love than two people who step over the line of their individual cultures and pledge by their union to be an example of the all-encompassing inclusion of God’s love. I know this because I’ve lived it.
THIRD: You had your Black 19-year-old cello player (Sheku Kanneh-Mason—a British prodigy) who played Maria Theresia von Paradis’s “Sicilienne,” Gabriel Faure’s “Apres un reve,” and Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria.” I have heard many a cello soloist (it is my favorite string instrument), but I have never, ever heard a soloist so magnificent who played with such passion. I stopped dancing when he started to play. I froze in place and I worshiped God.
FOURTH: You had your Black Bishop from America (Rev. Michael Curry), the 27th and current presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. That’s when my Holy Ghost jig turned into the “Whip” and the “Nae-Nae,” segued into the “Joe-Joe,” and then cooled down with an “Electric Slide for one” with a final dropping to my knees to embrace the word of the Lord. That Black bishop took me to church and had me shouting “Hallelujah, Amen, Glory to God” over his message of love!
Suddenly, a mere Royal wedding became an “aha” moment for me—calling me toward something higher and greater than the cares of this world or the momentary titillation of celebrity watching. The Black bishop was encouraging me (us) to discover the power of love to make of this ‘old world a new world.’ He said:
“There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love.
“There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can.
“There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.
“There’s power in love to show us the way to live.
“Set me as a seal on your heart… a seal on your arm, for love is as strong as death.”
When the wedding was over, my husband and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes, and we both realized that we had witnessed something far greater than two people getting married who had more money than God to pull off an occasion that was watched by hundreds of millions of viewers. I discovered later that Harry and Meghan had picked the scriptures, the Bishop and approved his sermon text, the cellist, the choir and what the choir sang, and I knew then that they recognized the power that their love and union could have on the world, if they did it right. If you ask me—judging by their wedding ceremony—they are off to an excellent start.
ELEANOR’S SELAH (“AHA”) MOMENT ABOUT THE ROYAL WEDDING
I am discovering two other awesome things since the wedding. First, Rev. Michael Curry (who hardly anyone knew until the wedding) is leading an Evangelical march to the White House for a candlelight vigil tonight (Thursday, May 24th) titled: “Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis.” He will be joined by many magnificent Evangelical Protestants (Jim Wallis) and Evangelical Catholics (Fr. Richard Rohr). They are the sane and good-hearted Evangelicals who you never hear about because the misguided Evangelicals who surround Trump make so much idiotic noise. Rev. Curry’s group are protesting Trump, his lying ways and racist choices, as well as the compromised Evangelicals who put Trump in the Oval and keep him propped up in office no matter what he says or does. They are marching for the restoration of the love of Christ. How convenient of God to blow up Rev. Michael Curry’s profile in time enough for a vigil of truth in front of the White House. I think I’m going to get the Holy Ghost jig all over again. (Check out the marchers’ manifesto for reclaiming our government and country for inclusion, grace, and love: http://www.reclaimingjesus.org/ )
Second, did you know that Megan is not England’s first Black royal? The love bug hit another royal black woman by the name of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from the 18th Century (the queen that Charlottesville, VA is named after). Charlotte was the wife of King George III, and was Queen from 1761 until her death in 1818. And here’s a bit of info that will set your feet a dancing: According to the reporter Lindsey Matthews (Town and Country Magazine) Queen Charlotte’s sixth son—ninth child (Prince Augustus Frederick)—was a progressive and a radical agent of love “who advocated for Catholic emancipation, the removal of civil restrictions on Jews and dissenters and parliamentary reform, and supported the abolition of the slave trade.” Want to know something else? The gift from the Queen of England to Meghan and Harry was the title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex—the title last held by Harry’s great-plus-plus uncle Prince Augustus Frederick. I think the Queen was in on the joke with the kids. If they are going to be change agents of love, mercy, and grace, they might as well have the hereditary titles to go with it. Good one, Queen Elizabeth. I knew I liked you for some reason other than the fact you are reported to daily throw down a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, wine with lunch, and a dry Martini and a glass of champagne in the evening…and you’re 92 freakin’ years old. You go girl!
(AND ALL THE BLACK FOLKS ARE SAYING: “UH, HUH…I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT QUEEN CHARLOTTE WAS BLACK THE MINUTE I LAID EYES ON HER. THAT PAINTING SAYS IT ALL!”)
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES FOR OUR TIMES
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.”—Song of Solomon
“This is also a moment when our public discourse is loud and harsh. My prayer is that, weary of such noise, we turn back to the source of all calmness. That source — that source is God. Everything we lack, God has in abundance, compassion, sensitivity, patience and a boundless love. So again, I want to thank all of you for this honor, and I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist who every single day seeks to expand my capacity to love.”—Janet Jackson (2018 Billboard Awards)
“We believe two things are at stake: the soul of the nation, and the integrity of faith. We believe the issues are more deeply theological than merely political or partisan. We believe it is a time for prayer and response, for contemplation and action.
“In this moment of political, moral, and theological crisis in America we are deeply concerned about the resurgence of white nationalism, racism, and xenophobia; misogyny; attacks on immigrants, refugees, and the poor; the regular purveying of falsehoods and consistent lying by the nation’s highest leaders; and moves toward autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule.”–“Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis.”
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