Saturday, March 14, 2009

In God's Time

“Jesus said to his brothers, ‘the right time has not come for me.’ “ John 7:6

I am at the House of Bishops meeting and was speaking to another bishop who was consecrated just weeks before I was. How quickly time goes by, and how much can change in a short time. On April 4th, I will celebrate my 7th anniversary of being a bishop. Time has a way of bringing both perspective and depth. I am not where I thought I would be that day seven years ago and yet, for all the complications and challenges, I am glad to be here today. As I move through Lent, through a time of discernment and as we move together as a country and church through challenging times, I am glad for all the lessons I have learned and the people who have graced my life. Extraordinary people have taught me resilience and joy in the midst of great challenges. Circumstances and situations have challenged my idea of church, and have helped me renew a vision of what is possible together. None of these things could I have learned, if I wasn’t challenged and stretched. Not all of it came easy or was welcomed. But God finds a way to get us through. That is one thing I know for sure.

Jesus’ brothers had all sorts of advice for him and wanted him to go to the festival and show off. They were probably feeling some competitive jealousy mixed in with their love and camaraderie. They probably wanted just a normal, enjoyable family time but Jesus’ life and ministry had thrown the family some curves. Nobody quite knew what to do. It wasn’t a comfortable fit anymore. As people grow and change, even among siblings and loved ones, sometimes the changes and experiences are overwhelming and hard to handle. Jesus had to follow after them and quietly attend the festival – and even then he seemed to cause a disruption because of who he was.

Today, I want to give thanks for all the people and places God has brought me to in the past seven years. I want to be grateful for the dear friends as well as the adversaries, the familiar as well as the extraordinary. I know God has used all these circumstances and people in their time to help grow and develop the body of Christ and my small part in it. I want to see with the eye of time, that the pressure of any given day is offset by the glory of God’s love made visible in community. I pray we can all give thanks for God’s time. It’s not ours and we can’t control it one bit. But we can know that God is moving in the midst of time and beyond time so that love may flourish through and with us, right here and right now.

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