Today we'll hear from two members of your representatives, June Linke and Lynn Ferren. The format of the video is also a little different because I like to change things up every now and again. Also not everyone is comfortable staring at a computer and talking to it like it was a person. So enjoy a word from Lynn and June:
Today I was reminded of two powerful things. The first was when the Reverend Nancy Frausto spoke to us about Becoming Beloved Community. As she closed her remarks she called our attention to Lazarus stepping out of the grave. "Unbind him." Those are the words our savior speaks to the people present. Unbind him. Unbind him from the chains of death, unbind him from the power of the grave, unbind him from the separation from his family and friends. Unbind him so that he is free and so that those of us who mourned him are also set free by the grace and love of God in Christ. We are so bound up in our incivility and anger and fear that we can miss the power of the resurrection setting us free from those chains.
The other was the moment in Mark's Gospel when Jesus cautions the disciples about false prophets and warns them of the signs of the end of the age. "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars. . ." By now if you are paying attention to social media, or to the news, or to outside sources, you may be hearing of wars and of rumors of wars. You may have heard that the Episcopal Church is turning 2000 years of theology on its head or that there are egregious shortcomings in General Convention. But what no one has reported on is the beauty of this gathering.
Today in the House of Deputies, we engaged in debate as to whether or not to begin the process of revising the Book of Common Prayer. The resolution is A068, but that's not especially significant to anyone who isn't on the floor of the HoD. What was so amazing, what was so life-giving, what was such a glorious example of the Body of Christ at work was that in spite of deeply held feelings, in spite of strong opinions, in spite of all the elements that have caused our national discourse to deteriorate, there was not ONE cross word. There was not ONE ad hominem attack. There was no cruelty or snark, no condescension or great lament in the floor debate. I'm certain there was some muttering among deputations. I will confess that I had my own inner dialogue running about what others were saying. And I had plenty of time to think about that since the electronic tracking system that orders speakers malfunctioned leaving me waiting by a microphone to speak for the entire debate without having that opportunity.
But we were gracious, we were respectful, we were a community in disagreement that was balanced by love. Given the tenor of our political discourse and the dramatic contrast I saw today, I found myself smiling broadly though I had not had my turn to speak. I found myself deeply grateful for a church where even our deepest convictions about the temporal things of this world did not overcome nor diminish the care we took to engage one another. No one will report on that. No one will dangle that before audiences hoping to sell more ads or encourage more clicks.
Your church was living our Gospel call today. Be proud. Rejoice. There were hiccups, there have been problems. There will always be challenges when the church comes together to deliberate. But we were the church, the people of Jesus Christ, the beloved community of the most holy God today. And it is a witness worth remembering.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. But from a cynic about church politics, take my word for it, your church was a living, breathing, loving testimony to God today. Blessings to you all.