I first met E.J. Dionne, Jr. during my first stint as Jimmy Carter's 1976 Illinois campaign chair. We huddled for lunch in a corner deli across the street from our Chicago campaign headquarters.
I was surprised and delighted to discover a young Washington Post reporter who was so knowledgeable about the significance of Carter's religious faith.
Forty-two years later, after following his political coverage for more than four decades, I still trust E.J.'s sensitivity to the moral dimension of the murky world of politics. As one of my political colleagues puts it, "he gets it."
Latest example of that sensitivity came this week when Dionne, now a columnist for the Post, captured the impact of a Royal wedding sermon delivered in London by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the bride's Presiding Episcopal Bishop.
"...Maybe it takes a royal wedding to offer lessons in what a good sermon sounds like.
"Maybe it takes one of the world's most elitist institutions -- a monarchy, for goodness' sake -- to provide a view of Christianity rooted not in conservative cultural warfare (or unrelenting support for President Trump) but in an egalitarian love that will 'let justice roll down like a mighty stream.'
"And the Most Rev. Michael Curry, who preached for a royal couple and the world last Saturday, isn't finished with us yet."
Next up on Curry's calendar is a march in Washington, which the Bishop will lead.
E.J. Dionne, Jr. explains how Curry will follow his sermon, which cites Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call to action, "let justice roll down like a mighty stream."
"On Thursday, a group of Christians will march to the capital for a candlelight vigil inspired by a declaration titled 'Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis.'
"The presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, Curry is a prime mover of a statement suffused with a sense of urgency about 'a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government.'
"While Trump lurks behind almost every paragraph of this passionate assertion of faith, he is never mentioned. This reflects the desire of the endorsers to focus on what it means to proclaim that 'Jesus is Lord.' The opening paragraph makes this clear: 'We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.'"
The nation's soul is also receiving an extended examination by another author, Jon Meacham, whose latest book, The Soul of America:The Battle for Our Better Angels is reviewed by Sean Wilentz in The New York Times.