Breathe. Take a moment to feel your own breath. Take a moment to feel your spirit connecting with God. Take a moment before the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church shifts into overdrive and the hectic rush of committee hearings and legislative sessions make you forget that God is at work here in Indianapolis. Breathe. That’s what Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori advised us.
“Breathe deep for the spirit is blowing a fresh wind,” she said. “Breathe deep and be not afraid.”
Our time here gives us a chance to confront some of those fears that pulse through the Episcopal Church, those whispered voices that speak of a diminished life when we all know God is having none of that. Behold, I am doing a new thing! The Holy Trinity has thrown down an old-fashioned challenge, forcing us to rethink who we are in the 21st century. Nothing new there. Our forefathers and mothers did the same thing, century after century. And here we are again.
This time around we’re talking about possibly changing our Church’s structure. There’s an upcoming discussion on the idea of having an “open table,” allowing anyone, regardless of age, denomination, or baptism, to receive Holy Communion. That kind of talk can take your breath away. You might start hyperventilating. You might forget to breathe.
In her opening address, Canon Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, suggested we see our time together as a nine-day Bible study. We’ve another chance to consider how the institutional church can become “the people of God church.”
This is no time to sink ourselves in false dichotomies and either-or questions: Are we for mission, or governance. We need both. We need the prayers and taize chants, along with a dose of decorum and order.
And so we breathe and do our part to make sure our Church continues to be God’s beating heart in the world.
– The Rev. M. Dion Thompson