Friday, June 12, 2015

Detour



You can’t get there… until you leave here.

And, even then, it won’t be a straight shot to Harrisburg:  I will be attending the triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, from June 23- July 4.

Going to General Convention while packing up to move from our home of nearly thirty years will be some trick.  But we’re ahead of the game:  since my sister came and visited last week, we’ve bubble wrapped our belongings and sealed them up in cardboard boxes.  We live, now, in rooms that look like a giant cardboard maze.

Attending General Convention will be like jumping into the deep end of the pool.

I’ve been to just one Convention- the last one in Indianapolis- as a guest of the ECW.  I was there to present workshops on Rhythms of Grace, inclusive worship and ministering to families with children with special needs.  Convention was fascinating. It was so interesting to see the Church at work.  The deliberations of the Houses of Deputies and Bishops, the legislative hearings and process, the vendors hall and the Spirit-filled worship all offered a different glimpse into the life of the Episcopal Church.  Last time, I got to pick and choose how to move in and around Convention.  This time, I’ll be seated in the House of Bishops with voice but no vote. (After my consecration on Sept 12, I’ll earn the vote.)   I’m looking forward to receiving my table assignment at Convention-  I’ve learned that the bishops have assigned seats and that there is a careful and deliberate choosing of who sits with whom, trying to create a mix around the tables.

This will be an exciting convention.  The conversations around the work of the Task Force on Marriage and TREC will invite us to move forward, theologically and structurally, and the election of a new Presiding Bishop will also make a statement about where our hopes lie for the Church of the 21st century.  There’s a lot to consider at this convention.  I’m feeling a little wide-eyed and a lot humbled by having a front row seat for this work. 

The mission of God will continue, of course, no matter what happens in Salt Lake City, no matter who shows up, and no matter how many pieces of legislation are prayed through the Convention machine.  Because God is in charge.  We, however, have a responsibility, as those baptized into the life of the Body of Christ, to participate in (this) holy and sacred work.  Yesterday, I talked with a colleague who rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, General Convention.. that’s not for me.”  And, yes, knowing this gifted pastor, it probably isn’t for him.  He’s got gifts of preaching and teaching and evangelizing and caring for the poor and the sick.  He’s smart enough to know that God needs him there and not in the Salt Palace for 9 days.  God needs us where we can use our gifts and feel that we are coming alive in what we do.  And I think that when we find that place, then God delights in us, as we join God in that part of God’s mission.  Where do you find yourself coming fully alive?  And have you stopped to consider how that is part of walking with God- participating in God’s mission?  If you haven’t found it yet… is there courage and boldness in your soul that will invite you to try on something new?

They’re saving me a chair in Salt Lake.  For me, that will be a new part of my walk with God.  If you’re at Convention, come and say hello. And, if you are tending another part of God’s great Kingdom in the latter part of June, then may God bless you, there. 

See you soon in Harrisburg.  But first, that detour.








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