Sunday, July 5, 2015

6th Sunday after Pentecost yr B proper 9 July 5 2015



6th Sunday after Pentecost Yr B July 5 2015

What a couple weeks we've had. It has been my great privilege and honor to serve you and the diocese of South Dakota as your deputy to General Convention. You'll have to ask Rick about his opinion, it is quite a full 10 days.That we are deputies is very intentional. It means that you have entrusted us, those whom you have chosen, to be the decision makers at convention and on the great work that is before the General Convention. General Convention meets every three years, it is the decision making body of the Episcopal church. We are the only church body that runs as a democracy. 109 dioceses are in attendance at General Convention, including dioceses in central America, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, and recently we have added Liberia. 

The House of Deputies, which predates the House of Bishops, is a huge body of people, 422 clergy deputies and 422 lay deputies. The representation is vast and good. I like being your deputy to General Convention because it is important to me to be part of the councils of the church. I believe that is part of what my ordination vows call me to do, to take my place in the councils of the church, 
and although I take that seriously, I also understand that not all of what we do as the church can be legislated. So some of what General Convention is for me is connecting and networking. We see our diocesan convention as a great family reunion in which we get to see our brother and sister Episcopalians in South Dakota. I consider our General Convention in such a way as well. It's an opportunity to see people, to reacquaint, and to get to know people from all over. I have an opportunity to see my seminary classmates, my faith formation colleagues, and so many different people to create new relationships and reacquaint older relationships. I do enjoy the General Convention experience.
The discussions we have are really important discussions, about the role of marriage in our communal lives, and how our church can, needs to and will, restructure ourselves so that we may be able to be more nimble, how to figure out how to better do our work in the local context, how to best appropriate money that we all contribute to the greater good. It is inspiring work, hard work, and sometimes even grueling work, but it is good work. 

We were part of the historic gathering that assented to the election of The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry as our next presiding bishop. With Presiding Bishop Katherine we had an historic election, the first female, and with Presiding Bishop elect Michael Curry we now have the first African American presiding bishop. With Bishop Katherine we broke new ground in very exiting and interesting ways.  Bishop Katherine has been so good at keeping people at the table, building bridges and breaking boundaries. I believe that Bishop Michael Curry has different charisms, those that we need today,  he is inspirational, enthusiastic, and an evangelist. He will help us all be able to speak the words of the Good News that help us tell others of the Jesus movement, and about the reality that God loves everyone and that Jesus is alive and well in the world and the church and in particular our denomination. 

You and I are familiar with the church in our area that advertises "we love our church", and yet I have heard over and over and over from Episcopalians far and wide "we love our church." My friends I do love our church and I have heard you say so too.

We hear in our gospel passage today, go out, two by two, and bring God's healing into the world. On Friday we heard from Bishop Michael, he told us to go, follow Jesus into the neighborhood, and travel light. Bring God's good news of love and healing into the world. Proclaim God's dream of love, and healing, and reconciliation at all times and in all places. 

You followers of Jesus, go, show God's love for all, and lives will be changed, hearts will be transformed. We can make a difference in this world. Even while churches are being burned, even when people are being shot down while attending church, we can make a difference.

Go, follow Jesus into the neighborhood, love those you encounter, build bridges, bring hope, bear God's dream, travel light.

Amen.

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