Monday, April 6, 2009
On this day, seven years ago, I was consecrated Bishop. It was the Saturday after Easter, a mild and warm Virginia spring day with a gentle breeze. The ceremony took place in the gymnasium at St. Paul's College and they were terrific hosts. The Gym had been transformed into a wonderful worship space, and we had a gospel choir, the choir from the Boys' Home, a volunteer choir, the choir from St. Paul's and many other musicians, including my harp teacher, Mike Nielsen. Much of my family was able to be there along with friends and well wishers from nearby and from as far away as New Zealand. It was a magnificent day and I was thankful to be a part of The Diocese of Southern Virginia. The procession was nearly a quarter mile long, snaking from the Fine Arts Center to the gym with resplendent colors catching sunlight and joy effusing all about us. My dear friends from Hawaii, Pua and Charlie had sent Leis since they could not attend, so my entire extended family was outfitted in Leis atop their traditional tribal regalia. It was a breathtaking and wonderful day, one I will always be thankful for, and grateful to God for the ministries I have been given in so many and diverse places.
"I can do all things trough Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
On this cold and rainy anniversary day, I want to give thanks for the many ministries and people with whom God has blessed me. I want to remember with joy that day and especially the people of Southern Virginia. And I want to remember, not to be sentimental or nostalgic, but to celebrate God's activity in my life. I have never been abandoned or left alone, but even more so, I have been blessed to serve God in so many wonderful places with so many wonderful people. Christ has strengthened me, even when I felt weak or the circumstances were complex and troubling. God always lead us through and brings us joy upon joy despite the challenges we face - that's what this anniversary day is teaching me anew. I invite us all to give thanks this day for God's continued blessing on each and every one of us. When we are weak, God is strong for us. When we are feeling at an end, God brings new life. When we are overwhelmed and burdened, God surrounds us with family and community to make our burdens light and our joy renewed. May this day remind us all that Easter is coming, even when it is a dark and dreary, the day of Resurrection is coming soon for us all.