Saturday, November 24, 2012

Episcopacy of All Who Hope

Years ago on a flight from Cairo to Amman, I asked a Palestinian man, an architect from Nablus, what he hoped for. He told me he dreamed of a homeland, security for his family, future grandchildren, fellow Palestinians and a port city. I think of him often as Nablus, like most recently  the Gaza Strip, has been a dangerous place.  I wonder if his grandchildren are safe and hoping they are all alive.
An old Hasidic saying states that the Messiah will come when all the citizens of Jerusalem come out and weep together in the streets. . . .
I pray in hope to weep with one another tonight, then embrace and sing together a new song. . . . . .
From the Book of Common Prayer: What is adoration?  Adoration is the lifting up of the heart and mind to God, asking nothing but to enjoy God’s presence.
What is the mission of the Church?  The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
From Huffington Post: “Watch Eric Whitacre's talk about a global choir that came together on YouTube and the power of crowd-sourced creativity.
It all began with that single video by Britlin Losee, and my god how it has blossomed from there. Our third Virtual Choir video, Water Night, was released this past Spring and features 3,746 videos from 73 different countries.”

I watched Eric’s TED talk and saw the video. It, the video, “felt like church.”  Eric reminded me of an overseer for a  sacred congregation.  For a few brief moments, as I have on a few  cherished occasions, I was lifted up in heart and mind and saw some of the 3,746 manifestations of the Cosmic Christ. And I was restored to unity with God and my neighbors.  My heart sang a new song in peace and joy.

Back to this moment:  it no longer “feels like church” in church to me.  The episcopacy, as now practiced, oversees not a large manifestation of the Cosmic Christ  but rather staffs, programs and other things that do not much find sacred definition in the Catechism.  I remember other times from my first little Episcopal Church in Larned, Kansas where, if anything, I felt and saw Christ in Word, Sacrament, a dear priest and faithful worshipers, later to seeing auras around preachers whose voices I believe were heard in heaven and admiring a whole host of bishops, priests, deacons and lay folk who to me shined with the Spirit in many sorts and conditions.

I long for a new manifestation of an episcopacy of all the faithful.  I do not mean just bishops who are only one order of the whole episcopacy and whose role is now largely an expensive encumbrance to “feeling like church,” auras and the communion of the saints. The Book of Common Prayer gives us the tools to move on to a restoration of hope and holiness at least as I read it and rarely hear publicly recited with soul.  As Advent comes, I hope to find companions who weep, worship, warm each others’ hearts and can  sing a new song.


  1. Ron, Thank you for continuing to address one of the most basic problems in our Episcopal Church. Unfortunately the issue is more widespread then just our Comunion.

    A recent internet blog written by a Roman Catholic states, “Collectively, the Catholic Bishops in the USA are doing a very poor job. Their poor performance is on display with the problems we see with the liturgy.” The writer goes on to say, “I see very little team work amongst the Bishops. Each one seems to focus on protecting their patch of turf, rather than projecting a unified voice that support what the Church actually teaches.”

    This could have just as easily been written by almost any Episcopalian

  2. Thank you Ron for an inspiring tribute to the truth of our religion and the falseness of our Episcopal leaders. We need leaders who are dedicated to God and to God's people; persons with spiritual depth and organizational compassion. True leaders of people and not institutional hacks.

  3. Check out this story of clergy leadership!

  4. I do not know what planet you are on or whose Diocese you belong; but stop belly-aching about the bishop. Your focus would be better spent on Christ. Model what you desire in your own faith community. Change starts from the roots - not grass tops.