Sunday, January 11, 2009

There was a Q&A session with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts-Schori at our church this afternoon. It drew a capacity crowd to St. Philip's, something we rarely see except on Goat Roast Sunday. I was so impressed by her easy, relaxed manner and her sensible, sensitive responses to some really tough questions. The first question was about "changes" that have made one of our longtime communicants uncomfortable, and the last question concerned Leviticus 18:22 and whether we, as Episcopalians, consider it relevant today. In between those two bookends, we had a brave Baptist in the crowd who expressed his hope that the Episcopal Church continued to stay at the cutting edge and to lead Christians into the 21st Century, even though most will go kicking and screaming, and another poor soul who seemed quite resentful of "homosexuals who have invaded our church," plus several other inquiries regarding such varied topics as evangelism, Middle-East Conflict, the UN's Millennium Development Goals, and open communion. Our Bishop was calm and unruffled throughout. Unlike Oprah, I guess she has heard it all and probably knew pretty much what to expect.

Father Tom delivered another excellent homily this morning regarding the baptism of Jesus, and how radical he was and how radical we, as Christians, should be. Then we renewed our Baptismal Vows:

Celebrant: Do you believe in God the Father?
People: I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Celebrant: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Celebrant: Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People: I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Celebrant: Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and
fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
People: I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant: Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into
sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People: I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
News of God in Christ?
People: I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
People: I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human
People: I will, with God’s help.

* * * * * * *
In between the morning service and the afternoon meeting, I picked up a lunch at Arby's and visited with Mike. He has shaved a small patch on the right side of his face and says that's all he intends to shave. The rest has a very scruffy 3-week beard on it. I'm wondering if his vision was impaired by the eye injury and he isn't seeing well enough to do the rest, but I didn't ask. He was quite touchy about the whole subject. He ate his roll and his dessert and left the fried chicken, potatoes, and green beans on his plate, said he had a big breakfast and wasn't hungry. He called this evening asking about the Bishop's session, and said he wished he had eaten more lunch. I have a feeling he didn't leave any of his dinner on the plate.

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