The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of North Carolina, preached at the community Eucharist this morning on the feast day celebrating Harriet Beecher Stowe. (http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2012/07/07/north-carolina-bishop-michael-curry-preaches-at-convention-eucharist/) Using Mark 3: 10-21 he noted that those who heard Jesus speak and saw what he was doing, thought he was crazy and he was! And, Bishop Curry said, “those who would follow in his footsteps, those who would be his disciples are called, and summoned, and challenged to be just as crazy as he is!” Crazy Christians who will not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. Crazy Christians who will be servants for Christ. Curry suggested that, “it is our calling to be different. It is to love when it is easier to hate. To give and not to count the cost. To speak when others would be silent. To stand up when it is more tempting to sit down. To stand up, stand up for Jesus. Stand up for his love, to stand up for his goodness, to stand up for his compassion, to stand up until the nightmare of this world is overcome by God’s dream for it. We need some crazy Christians.”
(And might I add we need more crazy preachers to follow in the preaching footsteps of Rev. Curry. We need to be the kind of preachers that people want to hear from, who are excited to hear from and come to our churches to hear from! We need some crazy preachers!)
At a ministry panel as part of the Young Adult Festival, four crazy Christians spoke to us about their calls and journeys of ministry. All of them were crazy enough to listen to where God was calling them and crazy enough to follow. The Rev. Caro Hall is crazy enough to have come out as a lesbian, discerned a calling to the priesthood and accepted the invitation to be president of INTEGRITY, the Episcopal Church’s national and leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church and our equal access to its rites. Kim Robey is crazy enough to speak out for gender justice and women’s empowerment all over the globe and become the Executive Director of Anglican Women’s Empowerment. She leads other crazy women and men in standing up and speaking out for the equal rights and treatment of women and girls against world powers who have a vested interest in maintaining the unjust status quo. The Rev. Matthew J. Moretz is crazy enough to have created ”Father Matthew Presents,” a series of video blogs focusing on issues of faith and ministry from the perspective of an Episcopal priest. The series is a close-up view of the Episcopal Church in the 21st century. Father Matthew seeks to present the treasures of Christianity one video at a time and is crazy enough to put is face and his message of “what is awesome about the Episcopal church” out there on the internet for the world to see and hear the good news of God in Jesus Christ. And Larry Bourgeois is crazy enough to be working with the Church to develop Fresh Expressions of ministry and “third-place communities” for people to gather to explore their faith and their doubts and build relationships with God and with each other. He is crazy enough to say, “hey, maybe we can form communities right where people already are, like coffee shops and bookstores. Instead of demanding that they come to us, to Church, let’s go to them.”
May we follow the crazy example of those saints who have gone before us like Harriet Beecher Stowe. May we be crazy Christians who don’t try and bring God to people but help them recognize that God is already in their midst. May we be crazy Christians who come out as who they truly are. May we be crazy Christians who welcome all to the table. May we be crazy Christians who not only say they believe the crazy things that Jesus said, but do the crazy things that Jesus did. Like love their neighbor. And their enemy. And their self. And God. May we be crazy Christians who Incarnation the crazy love of God in all we do and say and are, every single day.