Monday, November 15, 2010
"Be Glad and Rejoice Forever In What I Am Creating..."
It's been a busy last few days, so I'm way behind on the blog. Sunday morning I was thinking about some of the Scripture passages for Proper 28, in particular from Isaiah 65:17-25 and Luke 21:5-19. Lotta talk about creating "new heavens and a new earth", about rejoicing and delighting in the people, about no more weeping being heard. That was Isaiah. Luke's message was more of a "downer": talk about no stone being left upon another, of wars and insurrections, of nations and other entities squabbling among themselves, of earthquakes, famines, plagues -- even talk of being arrested, persecuted. Well, I have to confess, that was a bit like reading the morning newspaper these days!
I'd just returned from our Diocese's 100th Convention which, though it had distinct moments of great joy and celebration, was also tinged with the memory of the recent fire which devastated the River City Food Bank in Sacramento, and did a pretty good job also on our adjacent Office of the Bishop. Bishop Beisner lost most of his vestments. All but one of the portraits of our previous Bishops were lost, not to mention things like stationery, computers and other essential office equipment and furniture, plus some of the personal items of all our supporting staff members. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..."
In addition, at the Convention we were asked to approve the dissolution of St. Mark's Parish, Yreka, whose Vestry unanimously voted for the action. The congregation had dwindled to a very few, and there weren't enough leaders to carry on the work. We all experienced a noticeable hush when the vote was taken. A sad moment.
Nevertheless, I personally felt that there was a distinctly positive tone in the Convention deliberations overall, a growing sense that, with all the change about us, we're being asked to change, to explore unfamiliar territory in our ministry and mission all over the Diocese, in every area. Along with that, it seemed apparent that there's a willingness to strike out in that direction, motivated by the consistent reminder of Bishop Beisner, ever since his consecration: "Focus on the mission; stay together; keep moving forward in the name of Christ."
I returned from Convention, motivated particularly by the words and example of our young leaders, clergy and lay, within the Diocese. Our new, of one year, Youth Coordinator, Monica Romano, gave an exceptional reflection to the Convention: realistic, born of her experience this past year in moving about the Diocese, rooted in the Gospel message and in the person of Jesus. If her spirit is any indication, and I believe it clearly is, there is definitely hope.
Which made another passage, from Isaiah 12, come alive for me: "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for God is my strength and my might..." Whatever God is creating in this place, it is good, it is very good!