Holy Great Commission, Batman! You do not invite Presiding Bishop-elect Michael B. Curry to preach without expecting him to bring down the house, but I think he may have brought down the whole block.
Bishop Cury was helped by the fact that our theme today was the Mission of the Church. It was fascinating to me, as a liturgical enthusiast, that the Collect for the Day, however, spoke not of mission but of reconciliation and forgiveness.
“God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ who is our peace: Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity. Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided, that, forgiven and forgiving, we may ever be one in Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever, one holy and undivided Trinity. Amen.”
Our mission flows forth from our reconciliation to God and to one another.
Bishop Curry built on that theme throughout his sermon. He spoke of the Babylonian Exile, of valleys being lifted up and mountains and hills made low. He told the story of Congressman John Lewis forgiving one of the men who brutally beat him during the Freedom Rides decades before. He mentioned St. Paul and +Barbara Harris (the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion) in the same breath, and quoted “that great philosopher, Frank Sinatra.” Ultimately, he told us,
“God came among us in the person of Jesus to reconcile us to God, to reconcile us to each other, and in so doing, to change the world.”
The Great Commission then, is us – ALL of us, every single person baptized into the Triune God – going forth, reconciled in Christ Jesus, to do that world-changing work.
“If you remember nothing else from my sermon this morning, remember that first part of the Great Commission: ‘GO!'”
Before worship had ended, Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas had started a hashtag proclaiming #BpCurrySaysGo to exhort his diocese to go forth, listening to Jesus and sharing the Good News of the Jesus Movement.
Whether you were physically present with us in Salt Lake City, you watched the livestream, followed #GC78 on Twitter, or are just tuning in now: #BpCurrySaysGo.
How will you go forth and make disciples of all nations? However you do it, let’s go together!
Presider – The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate
Preacher – The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop-Elect
Deacon – The Rev. Deacon Jane Holmes
Lector OT – Amanda Zorilla, Official Youth Presence (Spanish)
Lector NT – Diane Pollard
Master of Ceremonies – Margaret McLarty