By Cynde Bimbi
Set me as a seal upon your heart, for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave, …Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Song of Solomon (scripture quoted by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry as he began his homily at the royal wedding earlier this year.)
The greatest of these is love.
I had succinctly outlined my notes for this letter to our readers and believed I knew what I wanted to say. I was going to pen about new beginnings and a ‘new song’ as it would relate to a new season, a new school year, and a new beginning with a new bishop in a new program year. And, of course, tie it to all the insightful articles within this edition that speak to a new song in our diocese – all a great, worthy read. Then, as I sat down to write, I watched Meghan McCain’s eulogy of her late father, Senator John Sidney McCain, III. A speech that moved my soul, as I could identify many of the sentiments to my own mother’s passing, a speech that gave me hope that maybe we weren’t always going to be a divisive country, and a yet a speech that brought tears of sadness, joy, and hope.
It reminded me of our presiding bishop’s homily at the royal wedding earlier this year. What I heard then and what I heard today was a message of love – a redemptive power of love. A love for a (F)father, a love that defined a person’s life, a love of veracity and faith, and a love that can show us the way to live.
As Christians, we know that God’s love is ever present in all of us no matter our race, color, gender, sexual preference, political persuasion, or religious views. An abiding love in our savior Jesus Christ and the love our God has revealed to us can provide that great fire of light and hope that was spoken by both Meghan McCain and Curry. While Ms. McCain described how the love of her father was endlessly present and always teaching, Curry earlier paralleled with how the power of love can show us the way to live. When we discover and learn the power of love and the love of Jesus Christ, we will know endless love in how we are called to live with each other.
I am sure many of us have become disheartened and discouraged by the sense of discord that seems to exist around us – a discord that has led to broken families, friendships, and hearts. We should not allow the unpleasant rhetoric and mockery of our fellow citizens draw us from our core values and religious beliefs — the ideologies and principles that can guide us to love and unity. We shouldn’t stand down from what we believe in, but surely, we can stand up with integrity and the ideals in which we believe and have been taught. This is exactly what I observed while watching the funeral that Senator McCain so carefully crafted. A beautiful liturgy of words, songs, and hymns that was woven with spoken and unspoken messages of love and unity. Senator McCain sent us a message on that day. He showed us that we can respectfully disagree with others who may passionately differ from our own views and still see them as respected opponents, not as hate-filled enemies. This was clear.
With the power of love and veracity of faith in our redeemer, Jesus Christ, may we discover a father’s love that a daughter felt so deeply, or the way of love that Curry has articulated during his episcopate. To quote Meghan McCain about her own father, and what we might all proclaim about God, “All that I am, all that I hope, and all that I dream is grounded in what you taught me.”
With the faith of Jesus Christ, might we all begin this season with a sunrise of hope, faith, and love.
Rest in peace, John McCain, and thank you.
Cynde A. Bimbi
Director of Communications