This morning’s Eucharist, like all I have attended at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, was both moving and meaningful.
The first lesson was from Ezekiel. We are reminded that we are God’s sheep and that he will provide leadership and care. Psalm 87 was sung, led by the exceptional choir. The second lesson was a reading from Timothy, where we are enjoined to spread the word, and be rewarded by the Lord, the Righteous Judge.
The Gospel was the story of Jesus repeatedly asking Simon Peter if he loved him (Jesus), and directing Peter to “feed my sheep.” Jesus then gave an indication of Peter’s fate to come, and concluded with “Follow me.”
The homily was by Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
He noted that we were celebrating the feast of St Peter and St Paul, and gave a brief reference to the lessons, then began his story. I expect that you can find the video online, so I’ll just recap a few impressions. I had forgotton what I might have known about the genocide of the Armenians. It happened in what is now Turkey, early in the 20th century. The people were ejected from their homeland of 3,000 years; two thirds of an ethnic population of over one and a half million perished. Over 2,600 monasteries were destroyed, and over 4,000 clergy killed.
Episcopalians in this country received refugees and opened doors. We were thanked for our generosity and grace. I can only assume that not all were so welcoming.
The homily was moving, and well received.
Some other interesting factoids: We served about 2,200 at the Eucharist – in less than 10 minutes. There were 12 stations with multiple servers. We used 48 loves of bread and 96 bottles of wine.
On Sunday (yesterday), we served over 5,000 in less than 12 minutes.
I have enjoyed each and every daily Eucharist at GC2015. Somehow we manage to successfully combine all that makes an Episcopal service special with numbers that rival mega-church.
Thanks be to God!