This last week I have been gathering with a thousand-ish siblings from The Episcopal Church for its triennial General Convention. I have been attending this shindig since young adulthood. I have served in many capacities, including with the Youth Presence, as volunteer, multiple times as deputy, as committee chair, Chaplain to the House of Deputies, Vice President to the House of Deputies, as Dispatch of Business, and as Bishop.
I have met an incredible cast of characters along the way. Many have become not just colleagues but life long friends. I have been exposed and engaged with cultures, context, realities that have stretched me and significantly enhanced my life both professionally and personally. I have met deeply passionate, faithful people who unselfishly consistently offered their gifts for God’s mission.
I am grateful to have had a great high school civics teacher who helped me learn early on about the bicameral legislative process and parliamentary procedures. Yet honestly nothing really fully prepares you to preside over a diverse 800 person legislative gathering. And that includes the level of politicking. Sadly, in my experience as time has gone on, our legislative engagement more and more often resembles the U.S. government’s functioning, and not that of our Church. And there are times when I’m unfortunately reminded of Howard Thurman’s line, “Some people love power more than Jesus.”
The good news is that amidst the sometimes less than healthy human condition there are always these beacon of Light moments where you catch a glimpse of the “Kingdom of God has come near”. Moments that remind me of a line from Pope St. John XXIII, “Well, I did my best. It’s Your Church, so I’m going to bed now.” Moments that make it clear that it is God’s mission, God’s Church and we’re all invited to bring our gifts to live into God’s dream of the Beloved Community.