For the 129 people who died in Paris on Friday night, it was the end of the world. For so many of us who witnessed footage of the carnage and chaos in the wake of coordinated brutal attacks, it felt like the end of the world. As we close on the end of the liturgical year, which is November 22, the stories from scripture point to the end of the world. That's what the writers of both the Hebrew scriptures and the gospels expected.
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Posts from retired blogs, including Bishop Mark Beckwith's blog "Signs of God's Grace," Canon Greg Jacobs' blog "Out of the Ordinary," and blogs by General Convention deputies in 2012 and 2015.
It was an imagined Jeopardy question, posed by the Most Rev. Michael Curry in his remarkable sermon on Sunday, when he was installed as the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. “Name two words that begin with E that are never used at the same time”. Answer: Evangelism and Episcopalians.
I began a new spiritual practice about 33 years ago – six months after my wife and I were married. I didn’t want to engage in this new practice, but my wife did. She had just heard a sermon about proportional giving, and she suggested that we sit down at the kitchen table, add up our combined incomes and then figure out what percentage (proportion) we were giving away. It wasn’t much, less than one percent. She said we should raise the percentage, with the idea that in a few years we would reach a ten percent tithe, which was the challenge in the sermon.
Yesterday’s tragedy in Oregon marks the 294th death or injury this year from an act of gun violence that involved the shooting of at least four people (as reported by Mass Shooting Tracker). Many of those shootings have happened in schools. We pray for the fallen and their families – and for those who have been wounded.
This morning I joined 450 others in the open space in the 9/11 Memorial Museum for an interfaith service with Pope Francis. Most attendees were religious leaders from the New York area, but there were many family members of 9/11 victims, along with political figures and various celebrities.
I don't know where it will go from here. I don't know how the presidential sweepstakes can get more bitter, produce more blather – and grab more gut-wrenching attention than what we have seen and heard over the summer.
And, God help us, we have thirteen months to go.
The most powerful book I read this summer was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an editor at The Atlantic. The book is a series of reflections written to his 15-year-old son on what it means to be black in America in 2015.
In the last several months, awareness of the epidemic of gun violence is catching up to the reality. Terrorist-like shootings in Charleston, Chattanooga and Lafayette capture our attention, rip open the heart and ramp up the fear. Police shootings of innocents in Ferguson, Cleveland, North Charleston and Cincinnati rile the psyche and provoke the paradoxical question: how can a civilized society be so uncivilized?
Many momentous decisions were made at General Convention – the election of a new Presiding Bishop, the endorsement of marriage rites for trial use that bring the church to marriage equality, the ratification of some structural changes in The Episcopal church (TEC) that will provide greater clarity in the governance at the denominational level of an ever changing church.
Sine Die – the agenda notes this as the final moment of the 78th General Convention, and it is a bit of a misnomer. Translated from the Latin it means essentially that we are adjourned with no future meeting scheduled. Yet we all know that the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is already set, and will be in Austin, Texas. But for now, let us rest in the work that we have accomplished, keeping in mind these words from the Night Prayer in the New Zealand Prayer Book, "What has been done has been done. What has not been done has not been done. Let it be."