Wednesday, June 3, 2015
This is the first blog post of a new blog- a blog that will help me give voice to my new role as bishop and, even more importantly, to record, celebrate and ponder the movement of God in Central Pennsylvania and my (our) faithfulness in following the Way of Jesus, as inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
I've always loved maps. When I was in high school, the grandfather of one of my best friends was a cartographer; I could think of nothing more romantic than being a map-maker. Cartographers reveal what is known and seen by recording the landscape for others to explore on their own. They have a responsibility to be as accurate as possible so that their maps and charts can serve in a way that is helpful to the traveler... and to reveal with some objectivity the places of beauty and the points of danger for those who might travel there next. Cartographers- old school cartographers- are, first, keen observers... and then, artists and technicians.
I think that the role of bishop might be like being a cartographer of the soul of a diocese.
The metaphor of the Christian life as a journey is well worn. The first name for the Jesus-movement was the Way. We understand the Christian life as something that includes movement and, in many cases, some wandering- not always in a straight, forward line. And, yet, how much do we take account of the landscape and pause to record its contours? Map-making by the one who travels is not only a way to record where we've been, but to offer to others, our experience along the Way. I hope that this blog will inspire reflection from others on the beauty - and the dangers and difficulties- that we experience together, as we find God moving among us in the landscape of Central Pennsylvania.
When my husband Glenn and I first traveled around Central Pennsylvania, we were struck by the physical beauty of the place: the tall, hulking mountains in the northern tier, the orderly corn fields watched over by silo sentries, stone houses at the edge of now-paved roads and the Susquehanna river, at our side most of the time- a quiet companion and connecting thread. I am looking forward to learning more about - and seeing more- of this physical landscape and to meeting the people who live in the mountains and valleys, towns and cities of this place that is so new to me. I know that God is at work in this place and I look forward to seeing how God's people have joined, already, in God's mission and how they are listening to hear God's call to them... to us.
I'll be charting things along the way-- map-making-- for our common learning, reflection and celebration and helping to name the compass points of our travels together.