Bishop's Writing / Enews February
Dear People of God,
An enormous, devastating earthquake. Spy balloons. Mass shootings. A warm, almost snowless winter. Tiktok challenges to steal Kias and Hyundais. People are still sickened by covid. St Stephen’s parish closing. As the Wicked Witch of the West put it, “What a world! What a world!”
What a world, indeed. It’s discouraging, isn’t it. Sometimes I feel discouraged, too. In the midst of all these things – and more – what are we to do? How do we get beyond our own shock and grief, our fear and paralysis? What are we called to in this time?
In recent years, I’ve begun to realize – slowly – that the dislocations we all experience, far from being unusual, are a continuing part of human life. Personal tragedy, illness, broken relationships, natural disasters, abuse of the environment, murder, and war are ongoing parts of the human experience. The Middle East was once called the Fertile Crescent. England and France once fought 100 years of war. Our country has been in one or another military conflict for nearly all of my life. Members of my family have died. And so it goes. The experiences of our time are linked across time with the experiences of human beings everywhere.
We fervently want a better world. We fervently want health and peace. We fervently want security and hope for the future – as have people across time and everywhere.
I think folks in Jesus’ day probably felt a lot like we do – lost, oppressed, and powerless. Nevertheless, Jesus’ counsel to them was, “Get on with it. God loves you and will sustain you. God walks with you in your distress. God will greet you when you finally arrive home. And in the meantime, your job is to share God’s love, to reach out a hand in love to the poor and weak, to be voices in the dark for light and truth, to be signs of the better world. Even for your enemies, even as you suffer, your job is to love. So begin, now, every morning.”
We have our struggles – struggles in our personal lives, and struggles as members of the Diocese of Rochester. Things are not always as we would like. But we have been called to follow Jesus, and it’s time to get on with it: to turn the past over to God, to face the realities of the present, and to look to the future, trusting that God walks with us.
We have no guarantees that things will get better, or that our hopes will be fulfilled. But they certainly won’t be if we sit back and wait. All around the diocese, I see folks energized by possibilities, trying new things, persevering in the work God has given them, and rejoicing in the signs of new life they see and experience. That’s my hope for all of us. May we in the midst of this often discouraging world hold fast to our hope in Christ. May we take our first steps, and get on with it.