Sometimes we get so caught up with our own needs being met at church that we forget that we're part of something bigger, says Bishop Hughes. And when we gather like we did at Convention this past Saturday, we remember that we are part of something bigger: God's work. (Time: 4:50.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. And it's a few days after our Diocesan Convention where we all gathered at Calvary Episcopal Church in Summit. And I want to give a big shout out to Calvary and say thank you for their lavish hospitality. There were so many people from Calvary that helped to make this possible. And it was wonderful to be inside the warm beauty of that church, on a day that was cold and blustery and rainy. I was so happy that we weren't under a tent. But instead, we were in Calvary Church. So thank you to everyone at Calvary Church.
I'm so grateful for everyone who was able to attend, whether you attended online or you attended in person. And there's an overriding thought that comes to me, after all of the resolutions and voting, and worship and praying and conversation and teaching and learning and connecting with each other is done. And that is this: we are part of something bigger. And whether you were at Convention or not, I think that's a very important thing for each of us to remember, that we are part of something bigger. Sometimes we get so caught up with church, thinking about what we need, are we being fed, are my needs being met, do I feel the peace that I need to feel when I leave so that can get me through the week. And we forget that we are part of something bigger. And when we gather like we did at Convention, where it's across the diocese, and many parishes, and across geography and across diversity and across age, across all the things that make us different, but that make us the same at the same time, because of why we're united, that when we do that we realize we're part of something bigger.
We as an individual go into church with our own needs, but simply by going into one of our parishes, we are part of something bigger. We're part of a parish, and the parishes on their own are doing their ministry, but they're part of something bigger. The parishes are part of the diocese, and the diocese on its own is doing its own ministry. And it's part of something bigger, that's the Episcopal Church, and the Episcopal Church is doing its own work. And it's part of something bigger, that's the Anglican Communion. Every single piece is part of something bigger. And I want to take this even further to push us past looking at our denomination, that we are all part of something bigger, that's bigger than any church and any denomination. And that is God's steadfast work, to unite us with each other and to unite us with God's self. That God is always working in us and through us and with us, to bring us closer to God and to bring us closer to all of God's people. That this is God's ultimate plan, to bring healing, to bring restoration, to bring unity to all of humankind. That's the thing that we're a part of that's even bigger.
I think it's going to be very important for us to remember that we're part of something bigger as pandemic continues to meander on its way. Some are already calling it endemic. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But one thing that we do know is COVID cases are up yet again They get better, they get worse, they get better, they get worse. And we're going to keep meandering our way through this until we no longer are. And in the midst of that, it's important at every turn that we remember, we are part of something bigger. That God is working in us, that God is working with us. And God is working through us at every turn, not just to bless us so we feel a moment of peace, but to use us as God's instrument to allow us to be in ministry with God, in partnership with God, to bless all of God's people, so they are united to each other and united to God. We are all part of this movement. Bishop Curry calls it the Jesus Movement. We're all part of this movement of God's, to bring restoration to all of humankind.
So the next time you think about your faith, the next time you think about Diocesan Convention, the next time you go into your church, remember this: you are part of something bigger. It's bigger than our parishes, our denomination, than the church – it's as big as the whole wide world and what God is trying to restore in it.