Sunday, June 1, 2008

From These Shores

Just over 400 years ago, the first settlers celebrated the Eucharist on the shores of the James River. As part of the first settlement at Jamestown, came the first thrust of overseas mission to the "savages, living in darkness, without the light of the Gospel". Last November, the Indigenous People of the Episcopal Church from many nations, along with many other people gathered at that spot to celebrate history and to re-imagine the future - without racism, greed, removal and misogyny, and most important, with strong Indigenous leaders from many tribes.

Next month, in July, many Bishops will go from these shores to carry the good news of Mission and Inclusion from the Episcopal Church. They will talk about how we listen to difference and welcome everyone. They will argue for the rights of the marginalized. It seems I will not be going with them. My creative efforts to find ways to offer my gifts and to take my rightful place in the councils of the church have been shot down. The joy this weekend of being with my brother and sister bishops has been tainted by silent rejection. Native people have listened as others in power have defined them and their place in the world. We are to be silent decoration, reminding folks of romantic, by-gone days. But we are still here. And we will witness to God's love and faithfulness in our lives, no matter who tries to shut us out.

From these shores we will pray, with Jesus at the center of the sacred circle, for God's welcome to be truly manifest in our Church, on these shores and all others. We will pray for this inclusion, not for ourselves alone, but for all people, and for the children yet unborn to the seventh generation. Join as we pray for Christ's radical and radiant inclusion to pour abundantly down on our whole church, soaking like warm rain on our parched hearts and lands.

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