General Convention Day 3 – a new PB, a march, and it’s time to “git up!” because we ain’t dead yet

General Convention

Perhaps you heard that we elected a new Presiding Bishop yesterday?

That was pretty big news. The first African-American Presiding Bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church, the first YDS-Berkeley seminary grad in that office, and the first, first ballot election in a very long time.

You know what else? It’s also the first time in a long time that the election wasn’t about finding a way to hold the various factions of the Episcopal Church together. This election turned out to be a long and thoughtful conversation about how to git going, get moving, start preaching and quit fearing. All four candidates talked about that, and that was the focus of those of us who cast ballots at St. Mark’s Cathedral. “Which of these four would the lot fall upon to lead us out into the world proclaiming the power of resurrection?” And the lot fell on Michael Curry.

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If you haven’t met him yet, find a way. He radiates joy. And it’s infectious. He lights you up with the Holy Spirit so that you light up a room too.

And then after a big deep breath yesterday, this morning we all got up, put on vestments and walking shoes and marched through the streets of Salt Lake City, in a state where to more people are killed each year by guns than by auto accidents, and called for an end to this epidemic of gun violence. I haven’t walked in something like this in years. It was powerful. It was a moment of proclamation. It was a reminder to all of us of the power we have to proclaim “the power of the Holy Trinity is greater than the power of the violence, guns and despair.”

11538154 10152927437056931 5622585378255449080 oThe morning Eucharist was electric. Presiding Bishop Katherine preached with a power and an intensity I’d not heard her use before. She told us that we, like the woman who overcame the shaming and the finger wagging because of her hemorrhage of blood, and drew near to take Jesus hem and be healed, needed to stop listening to the finger waggers, realize we’d been healed and start shouting the Good News.

It was one of the sermons that make you realize you had been thinking about things wrong all along. And suddenly, in a flash of insight, you realized that God loves you, in spite of your flaws, and that God has a plan for you and expects you to get to it. And there are no more excuses for not getting to it.

When the sermon goes up online I’ll try to remember to link to it. Keep an eye on my twitter feed in the short term. And if you find it, give it a listen. It’s really worth it.

And then back to legislative sessions. But today they felt a little different. Sure, it was still the regular grinding of minutia and reports, but it felt like it all had a purpose in a larger context. And that’s exciting.

If nothing else, I’m praying we come home from Salt Lake City renewed and energized in a way we haven’t been in a very long time in the Episcopal Church. And it’s about time. The world has need of Jesus’ power. And we are being sent out to proclaim it.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...