Island of Hope in the Valueless Storm

Posted: July 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

What a deep drink from the well of sanity and sanctity! I’m here with friends, gathering with the tribe of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at the General Assembly in Indianapolis. With what is swirling in the world at present it is satisfying and inspiring to reconnect with a wholly different story and affirmation of what life really means and the terms of engagement for this time.  Much of this is simply restating the core values of faith, justice and deep community.

Sharon Watkins has just finished a twelve year term of service as our General Minister and President.  She has been a steady and inspired presence at her post. Many of us remember when she was the preacher at the Innagural worship service in the National Cathedral for President Obama.  Sharon was the first female “Head of Communion” in the nation – now joined by several other women in other denominations who occupy the highest post. One of the most powerful tributes I heard given to Sharon was that she made the fact of a woman serving in the church at this level “normal.” Yes she did. So much so that our next GMP will also be a woman and an African American woman at that.  We  will pass the baton to Rev Teresa Hord Owens at the close of the Assembly.

When the national/international tribe of church gathers it is always a time for high festival celebration. That includes the best and brightest worship and that was certainly true for the opening night of the Assembly. It was refreshing to hear that unity is not real unity unless it is unity shaped by justice. In a time when that message is mostly absent from national discourse we were heartened to remember who we are and who we are meant to be.

In addition to countless reunions with colleagues and church folk from across the years the Assembly is a magnificent gathering of the whole church in all its diversity. In local congregations we often lose track of our remarkable ethnic and geographic richness. Our brothers and sisters who live and minister in many varied contexts do so in ways we cannot, and that is the point. Together we are a potent force for the activity of the Spirit in a universal kind of way. Our ecumenical and international relationships are rich. Our reach into every aspect of society is broad. We are not alone.

This morning we worship at Central Christian Church and hear William Barber bring the word. He has been a voice for faithful engagement for justice in our time. We can’t hear that message too much.

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