Those of you who know me, know that I’m not the sort of person who uses the word “prophesy” lightly. So pay attention when I tell you that we may have seen a prophet speaking to us in the halls of General Convention yesterday.
And it had nothing to do with who held hands with who.
Bishop Stephen Charleston explicitly asked God to grant him the mantle and voice of a prophet as he spoke to Convention. He called upon the Holy Spirit to quicken his words in our hearts. He predicted a miracle. Pretty much all the typical signs of a prophet.
It was a call to live into a new relationship with each other and with the Earth.
From his sermon:
“‘The day will come when the future will look back on what we have been doing here and see in our discussions — though they appear to us in this moment, so fraught with importance — issues as antique as the concern as to whether or not women could have the right to vote and whether we should stop the practice of child labor,’ said Charleston.
‘And yet they will consider our folly on a planet that is but a burnt cinder, compared to the garden that has allowed us the luxury to have these self same debates. They will live in a world in which wars over water will make ours over oil pale in comparison.’
But, he said, it doesn’t have to be so. As the history of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion have shown, people can live in peace even when they disagree and people are capable of living in harmony with the natural world.
‘In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I call upon the presence of the Holy Spirit … the spirit of the very earth itself and ask that that spirit come into this room and touch each and every one of you who is listening to me now,’ Charleston concluded. ‘Let your mind be opened to the truth of what I have spoken here today, let your heart be set on fire … be not afraid Episcopal Church, but stand proud and tall into this great commission of God.
‘This is our moment, this is our time, this is our call and under an anointing of the spirit of God we will not fail in that call, but be in the vanguard of a change that will resound around the world full of hope and grace to renew humanity itself through the hope and power of Jesus in whose name I have preached and in whose name I have prayed.’ ”