Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bishop Katharine, Prophets, and IMPACT

I'm still processing the many challenging and invigorating ideas and images presented by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her visit to celebrate St. Paul's centennial this past weekend.

Like a musical work that reveals more with each listening, when I reflect on the things she said and, just as importantly, how she said them, I find myself being drawn further into God's mystery and the questions that bring us together.

I had the privilege of playing guitar with the youth group on Friday night, with the added benefit of participating in the talk that followed. Here's what most impressed me about Bishop Katharine's retelling of her journey:

1. Bishop Katharine's talents were recognized by the people around her, and they encouraged and supported her development. Her only agenda is furthering God's work.
2. She was never certain of what lay around the next corner, and sometimes questioned whether she was making the right decision, but was always open to God's will.

It is this "open-ness" that most impressed me. Her serenity invited participation, her answers invited further questions, her presence made all feel welcome.

Her Sunday sermon concerned prophets/profits. It's worth reading (or re-reading) in its entirety (on Rev. Jim's blog), but I wanted to highlight a portion that has specific meaning for me and the work we all do with IMPACT.
"Every time we see and speak out about injustice, or the need for healing or reconciliation, we’re both speaking in God’s name and pushing for progress toward God’s vision. Loving our neighbors is intimately wrapped up in that prophetic work of telling the truth of what is and what ought to be.

...Your next hundred years will be built on that kind of courage to speak truth, to pluck up and pull down human structures of injustice, and to build and plant a community of peace.

...Prophets may be quaking in their boots, like MLK the night his house was bombed, but they keep on speaking, and they keep on moving toward God’s perfection. May your words and deeds be bold!"

That is the truth: our work for justice in our community is an expression of our love for our neighbors. Our work for justice is to "build and plant a community of peace."

Thank you, Bishop Katharine, for your wisdom and your courage.

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