Tuesday, July 3, 2018


When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.” Matthew 21:23-32 
People are coming from all across this country and from across the globe to attend The Episcopal Church's 79th General Convention. This would have been my eighth, except that I am home recovering from spinal fusion. We meet together every three years, Bishops and elected lay and ordained deputies gathering to decide our mission, our structure and our response to this present world. We have a wide range of ideologies, theologies and attitudes. We do have fights. Yet we believe that God is in the midst of us and all voices should be counted and heard. We deliberated and pray, we celebrate and cry, and in all of that seek together to find where Christ is calling us.
Jesus was surrounded in the temple by the leaders of his faith - he was called into a committee meeting to testify about his authority and orthodoxy. He responds with a parable and reminds them that those who are reluctant at first, those who have acted inappropriately, selfishly and sometimes illegally might be welcomed into God's realm more quickly that the orthodox, the rule followers, the self righteous and the privileged. Jesus calls us together, as the church gathers to listen to this parable closely, and worry less about orthodoxy and more about compassion and love.
Today, I ask God to help me set my sights on compassion and love. May the church, as she gathers put our trust in Jesus and seek together to follow him.

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