Sunday 14th February

Try to have 3 candles ready to light, and maybe some soft instrumental music playing in the background

Our Sunday worship was due to fall on St Valentine’s Day – which has become a heavily commercialised celebration of (mostly) sentimental and romantic love. When I was asked to share worship with you on this special day, I was very excited. The ideas flowed as my imagination took flight. 

And then two things happened – the third lockdown, which prevents us from doing what we hoped; and I realised that EVERY Sunday is a celebration of Love, indeed, every day, every hour, every moment has the potential of being a celebration of love – and this pandemic has shown us many times what that love looks like.

 What I hoped to share with you in church today – using many of your voices – was extracts of Bishop Michael Curry’s world-stopping sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel on 19TH MAY 2019. A powerful reminder of the power of love.

 I have interspersed his words with moments of prayer and meditation. Take your time as you read, savour Bishop Michael’s words and wisdom, and invite the God of love into your heart once more…

 “The late Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way.”

There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even oversentimentalise it. There’s power in love… Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense in which, when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you, and you know it, when you love and you show it – it actually feels right.

There is something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant – and are meant – to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here…”

Moment of Meditation – light a candle

 God our soul’s magnet,
may we be drawn to you,
fall in love with you,
follow you with a lover’s devotion
through the gates of materialism and superficiality,
the exploitation and corruption,
the senseless waste of resources and the false gods,
to the humanity and the divinity
at the heart of your heart, and our own…

“Ultimately, the source of love is God himself: the source of all of our lives. There’s an old medieval poem that says: “Where true love is found, God himself is there.” The New Testament says it this way: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God, and those who love are born of God and know God. Those who do not love do not know God.” Why? “For God is love.” There’s power in love. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can.

Jesus of Nazareth was asked by a lawyer to sum up the essence of the teachings of Moses, and Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” … Love God, love your neighbours, and while you’re at it, love yourself.

That’s what love is. Love is not selfish and self-centred. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world.

If you don’t believe me, just stop and imagine… a world where love is the way.
Imagine our homes and families where love is the way.
Imagine our neighbourhoods and communities where love is the way.
Imagine our local governments, national governments and nations where love is the way.
Imagine business and commerce where this love is the way.
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.
When love is the way, there’s plenty good room for all of God’s children. Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well … like we are actually family.”

 Moment of Meditation – light a candle

 Let us be different,
Let us not be the same,
You will be you, I will be me,
Each of us has our own name. 

You do things your way,
In the light you have found,
You must be true to what you know,
And stand on your own ground.

 Until we can learn
To honour each other,
To hear and know what makes us real
We can’t love one another.

 But when that time comes,
Though many the flowers,
From different roots, we shall be shown
That one earth is ours.

“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was arguably one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.  In some of his writings, he said, from his scientific background as well as his theological one he said that the discovery, or harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history.

Fire to a great extent made human civilisation possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and to provide sanitary ways of eating, which reduced the spread of disease in its time. Fire made human migration around the world a possibility, even into colder climates. There was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advances of fire and technology are greatly dependent on the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good.

Fire makes it possible for us to text and tweet and email and Instagram and Facebook and be socially dysfunctional with each other! Fire makes all of that possible, and De Chardin said fire was one of the greatest discoveries in all of human history.  And he then went on to say that… if humanity ever captures the energy of love – it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

Dr King was right: we must discover love – the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world, a new world.

 Moment of Meditation – light a candle

Lighter of lights – illumine us
Fire of fires – thaw us
Power of powers – strengthen us
Lover of lovers – warm us
Teller of tales – encourage us
Destroyer of darkness – save us
Touchstone of truth – examine us
Summoner of stars – amaze us
Wellspring of wisdom – weather us
Water of life – refresh us
Dancer of days – delight in us
Breath of the universe – bless us.


Revd Martin John Nicholls, Chaplain of Point in View Chapel