Stayray ma-shi – “May you not be tired.”
—Pushtun Tribesman Greeting, Afghanistan
Blessings and strength, dear friends, as I write to you from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in magnificent Laguna Beach, CA.
Blessings and strength, my brothers, sisters and siblings in Christ, as we move together toward the 80th General Convention in Baltimore.
Blessings and strength to you and your loved ones as we look upon this journey as a kind of spiritual hike—a long walk in the wilderness—finding our way by following The Way.
And know this spiritual hike is not only within a virtual world defined by custom avatars (although I think that is wonderfully creative), it’s also in the real world. In the here and now. A world, too, of late that is seemingly no more than a “vale of tears.” Even for us Christians, reckless with God’s joy. But we have the gift of the Gospel that sustains us. For the Gospel is nothing if not reckless in the Good News that we can always be restored to God and all will be made new again…nothing if not reckless in its message that love conquers all…nothing if not reckless in its power to transform us from vessels of despair into messengers of hope.
I pray too our hike toward the 80th General Convention will be part of this transformation. And, in the process, be transformed itself into a kind of march. Against oppression. Against violence. And toward a new community of peace and justice.
I pray too for all the spiritual strength we can get along the way. We need it for ourselves. We need it to pay forward to others along their way.
Jacob wrestled with God all night and in the end, Jacob still did not know the name of God. Jacob woke from that struggle wounded, limping. Dear Deputies, as a pilgrim community on the move, we will often be limping and wounded. I believe that as we are healed by our sharing of Christ’s wounds, so will others be healed by our wounds.
So let us join hands, grab the holy oil, some bread, some water, and march toward Baltimore together, a House on the move. Let us be grounded in Christ’s resurrection so that even as we limp sometimes, we do so with holy joy. A deep-rooted joy that bubbles up from a blessed assurance, a confidence, a deep gratitude in the power of the risen Christ. As we hike through the wilderness, as we march along the road, let us sing our songs of freedom in Christ together.
St. Augustine once said, “Sing Alleluia, and keep walking.” I will walk with you into the heart of any storm singing, We Are One Together, Yo, Yo, Yo. What a gift and privilege to march with you, “At the service of the Holy Spirit!” a wonderful invitation by our friend, Dr. Scott MacDougall.
House of Deputies, may we not be tired.