Saturday, September 12, 2009

John Henry Hobart (1775-1830): A True American Forefather

My banner is Evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order.

(From John Henry Hobart's Apology for Apostolic Order and its Advocates, 1807)

Revive your Church, Lord God of hosts, whenever it falls
into complacency and sloth, by raising up devoted leaders,
like your servant John Henry Hobart whom we remember
today; and grant that their faith and vigor of mind may
awaken your people to your message and their mission;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This is a wonderful Collect, and one would go far to find one more relevant for the Episcopal Church today. While the Church is fending off criticism from some outside and in-fighting with the Church and the Anglican Communion over intramural issues, global society is screaming out for the faithful truth-telling of the Good News of God in Christ and for loving, compassionate action and outreach to all people and, indeed, to all the creation, by the Church's members.

Imagine if we had among us today a dynamo such as Bishop Hobart, shouting out to God by his words and actions: "Revive, your Church..."! Bring it once again to life! Our constant prayer needs to be that God will continually raise up "devoted" leaders -- non-ordained and ordained, female and male, lay-persons, deacons, priests, and bishops -- who will display in their lives genuine "faith and vigor of mind": not just perfunctory ritual and lazy fascination with the latest theological fad or sociological new idea. As the community of faith, not just our Christian selves, but people of all faiths and of good will, we need at this time in history to be awakened to God's message and will for true community in diversity, and to committing ourselves to be sent forth, according to each of our unique circumstances and talents, to announce the Good News of healing, peace, and love.

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