"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

When peace like a river attendeth my way... (moved)

Peaceful. That was the tone of the 144th Annual Convention of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh today. Yes, we had some joyful moments, some classic Pittsburgh moments, those little gems that show the world that no matter what they can recognize our faith by our love (and our love by our laughter). I thrive on those moments; I suspect when the going gets tough, it is on those moments that most of us thrive. Those moments are also what makes the getting going even tougher, as some of the ones with whom we have shared our moments in the past are no longer among us. We still love them, and we look forward to the day when we can share laughter again... hopefully that will come before the Kingdom does, but resting in the promises of God, we gladly take what he gives us.

We passed a resolution on the Sanctity of Human Life today and I was truly touched by the stories shared at lunch, and the manner even in which we disagreed with one another. There is respect for one another. Even ruffled feathers had a gentled quality. And our militant moments had a quality of unity about them. This must be what it means to be one in Christ Jesus... not that we will always agree this side of perfection, but that we will work towards the one goal in tandem with one another, upbuilding.

We who just this week were "released" from TEC were also joyfully embraced by the Southern Cone and the Anglican Province in North America. As one home plays us false and casts us out, the other has already brought us in and built us up. Is that not how the Gospel works, when our fallen nature betrays us, when the crafts of the devil decieve, when excrement happens because thats the world we live in, our perfect Father does not leave us orphans, teaches us in all truth, and cleans us up for service in his throneroom.

One of the things we talked a lot about was leaving the patterns of "Egypt," of our old ways and former captivity, buried in the sea we've just crossed. Some of that we managed to do. When it was natural to speak to someone who asked a question about a resolution, to speak to her directly, instead of having to impose pro and con microphones and structure to keep things sane, instead of speaking to the resolution, we spoke to one another. That felt good. I doubt Arius and Athanasius spoke to resolutions at Nicea; even when it was dicey they surely spoke one to another. It feels good to have the leisure, even to be a bit dicey together.

And once again, I'm in awe of the clergy and lay leaders here. And the ones who have now joined us from outside the river valley. Its intense here. Its joyous. Its somehow right in a way that the world does not understand, that there is no word to describe. We work hard, we play hard, and we love one another. That's pretty great stuff.

Thanks Pittsburgh. Here's to another great year!

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