Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Great Commission

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:14-18

Today is the 8Th anniversary of my consecration as bishop. Today, I am especially grateful for the people of Southern Virginia and the community of St. Paul's College. It was a wonderful day and a tender beginning to my life as a bishop. The day was beautiful and warm. We lined up to process across the great expanse of lawn and the procession was a quarter mile long. Folks from across the nation and across the world were joined with us. Many Native folks representing local Virginia tribes as well as dozens of other indigenous tribes and nations were with us. Clergy and lay people from across the Episcopal Church as well as other denominations were there. It was a day for rejoicing. A day to know truly that God has acted.

The disciples see Jesus after the Resurrection but some have struggled to recognize him, or maybe accept the change that has happened to him. Whatever the real story for the disciples, I know that we all struggle when profound changes happen in someones life, including our own. We are challenged to accept it. And yet, in the midst of our struggles, God is always sending us out. God is always commissioning us to go out and carry love and redemption to others. God is sending us on a road we cant' see, and a path we cannot control, with love pouring out for others. God is always urging us on, even when we are working to get our minds around it.

Today, eight years since that day, I can see that my path hasn't been a very straight line, nor has the way ahead clear. And still God has been with us all the way, urging me on, sending all of us forward with love to spread afar. So may this day be one of rejoicing in God's love - God's love which is entrusted to each and everyone of us -carried forth throughout the world. May God give us the courage today to go forth, just as we are, carrying the good news where ever we go.

Prayer from the Consecration of the Rt. Rev. Carol J. Gallagher
Therefore, Father, make Carol a bishop in your Church. Pour out upon her the power of your princely Spirit, whom you bestowed upon your beloved Son Jesus Christ, with whom he endowed the apostles, and by whom your Church is built up in every place, to the glory and unceasing praise of your Name.

To you, O Father, all hearts are open; fill, we pray, the heart of this your servant whom you have chosen to be a bishop in your Church, with such love of you and of all the people, thathe may feed and tend the flock of Christ, and exercise without reproach the high priesthood to which you have called her, serving before you day and night in the ministry of reconciliation, declaring pardon in your Name, offering the holy gifts, and wisely overseeing the life and work of the Church. In all things may she present before you the acceptable offering of a pure, and gentle, and holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be
honor and power and glory in the Church, now and for ever. Amen.

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