The Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer reminds us of the mission of the Church:
“The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” Also, “the Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love.” (p. 855)
So, the church needs the vision, resources and people to accomplish the mission. The work of the electing convention has already begun and will be fulfilled on May 18th when the bishop who will lead you more fully into this mission is elected. The work, which has already begun, is the work of Scripture study, prayer and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
As Christian community, we are called to be in the world but not of the world. The world’s values are not shared by the Church. In fact, what we value is often in direct opposition to what the world (secular society) values. The most emotionally- and spiritually-mature among us are able to distinguish between these two opposing sets of values. They are able to sacrifice wants for needs, individual good for common good, ego for the humility of following a poor and enlightened Messiah. As we mature in our faith and spiritual life, self-interest fades away. We begin to see more clearly God’s plan – God’s will. In short, we can see beyond ourselves.
You may have read about my swimming pool analogy in a previous blog post, where I said that a church is like a swimming pool. All the noise is at the shallow end. It’s where you will find an abundance of self-interest, inflated ego, secular politics, and all the values that go with these. I believe that as a Church, we need to be in the deep end of the pool, which is a more challenging place to be. It’s a place where we find the maturity and depth to which God constantly invites us.
It is my intention not take part in the voting May 18th. This is your decision about the mission of the Church and the future of the diocese. My prayer is that all will be in mature discernment before and during the election process.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Robert R. Gepert, VIII, Western Michigan
Bishop's Book Recommendation:"Falling Up" by Richard Rohr