The 78th General Convention met in worship for the first time with some 1,000-plus bishops, clergy and lay deputies, along with visitors present. The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts-Schori celebrated her last Eucharist for GC.
Voices were full and robust. The first reading was from the prophet Isaiah in Spanish calling for “preparing the way of the Lord, making straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This was followed by readings from Acts (13:14-46) and then the Gospel of Luke (1:57-80), which focused on the life and ministry of John the Baptist. The collect concerned John the Baptist and called us “to follow his teaching and holy life.”
Presiding Bishop Katharine in her homily called us all to be the “John and Jane Baptists” of the world:
“Make the road flat for all people, sharing the healing presence of forgiveness that leads to the road of the Kingdom.”
She said we live in a world full “deserts of death” reminding us that “what nature doesn’t do to us, our fellow man will do.” Yet we are challenged to help build a better road with “light bearers, not death dealers.” As Charleston AME church shared their witness of light and forgiveness in the midst of grief and anger during the arraignment hearing of Dylan Roof, she reminded the General Convention Bishops and Deputies that we, too, are gathered here to let our light shine as we are on a road building journey in the desert.
As “Jesus was a road warrior with no place to lay his head,” we are called to take the longer road with ever increasing commitment. “The gifts of Creation are at hand to share and make available to all as each had need.” Selfishness and self-centeredness are obstacles to that journey and our actions, at GC and in the world. She called us all to
“follow Jesus into the neighborhood… and travel light.”
With God’s presence and grace, may it be so in our actions at GC and in our lives as we return home!