WATCH: Bishop Singh Preaches at 79th General Convention
Bishop Singh delivered the sermon at the daily worship on July 9, at General Convention in Austin, TX.
You can watch Bishop Singh's sermon here.
Here is a recap of the Bishop's sermon from Fr. Billy Daniel, St. Michaels / Geneseo...
“Hello fellow immigrants,” said Bishop Singh, as he began his homily for worship at General Convention on July 9. He began his homily on reconciliation and hospitality by reminding those gathered that it begins with repentance. Bishop Singh reminded us that the Episcopal Church has done a good job focusing on reconciliation in the areas of race, creation care, and sharing the Gospel, but that we still have embody what we have legislated. This happens, he went on to say, through practice, specifically the practices of love embodied in Jesus.
Practicing love when people are divided is never easy, and Bishop Singh quoted the Scottish Divine, James Stewart, to show how things apparently divisive and contrasting are held together in the person of Jesus. “[Jesus] was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of women, yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out with terror at his sight, yet he was so genial, winsome, and approachable that the children loved to play with him and the little ones nestled in his arms. No one was half so kind or compassionate toward sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin… He saved others but at last himself he did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts that confronts us in the Gospels.”
Following, Bishop Singh asked the question: “Do I have to be wrong in order for you to be right?” The silence in the room was palpable, as each of us recognized how easily we can slip into demonizing the opposition, failing to recognize that we too are the opposition, but not necessarily. This is what it means to speak the truth in love. Disagreement does not have to mean disunity.
Quoting the poet Robert Browning Hamilton, Bishop Singh offered two accounts of what this looks like. “I walked a mile with Pleasure; / She chatted all the way; / But left me none the wiser / For all she had to say. / I walked a mile with Sorrow, / And ne’re a word she said; / But, oh! The things I learned from her, / When sorrow walked with me.” Yet Bishop Singh did not leave us there, and tempered the poem with a quote from Paul Kalinithe who said, “Suffering can make us callus to the honest suffering of others.” Both are true, and maybe we need to seek the truth in each other, Bishop Singh suggested.
It all begins with practice. After all, said Bishop Singh, the scriptures refer us to the “Acts of the Apostles,” and not their intentions. We must practice the compassion we preach, for as we find in Acts, this is how the world will know Jesus.
Bishops Singh represented us well at General Convention. More importantly, he witnessed faithfully to the Gospel of our Lord, and we are grateful for his witness in our midst.