July 2017 Convocation Newsletter
The American radio show, ‘On Being’ opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Animateur Krista Tippett explores these questions in their richness and complexity, in 21st-century lives and endeavors of her guests. In this episode, she interviews cellist Yo-Yo Ma, one of the most famous musicians in the world. In this intimate conversation, he shares his philosophy of curiosity about life, and of hospitality. ‘Whatever one practices for,’ he says, ‘we have this greater purpose, and that is why we want this communal moment to be really special for all of us because, otherwise, why bother to have come at all. It’s not about proving anything, it’s about sharing something.’
[The Episcopal Church, Office of Public Affairs] The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church opened its fall meeting September 17 in the Diocese of Taiwan. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated at the opening Eucharist, and preached the following sermon: "We thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen."
It goes without saying that the Cross is pretty important to Christians. It is the chief symbol of Christian faith. It occupies a central place in our houses of worship. You may display a cross in your home. We hang crosses around our necks. Christians make the sign of the cross when they pray or make some other act of devotion. There is no question of the importance of the Cross to those who call themselves Christian. This has been since the very beginnings of the Christian movement. In fact, the Cross is one of the major themes of the New Testament. The Gospels themselves are largely passion narratives, focused on the crucifixion and on Jesus’ last days leading up to it.
It is a great pleasure and privilege to preach the Gospel here with you today, and to share in this wonderful celebration of the Holy Eucharist. As I was thinking about this --I was told that I had nine minutes maximum -- I thought that I would preach on something that I have never preached on before today. In the middle of the Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, what you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ We normally call this the power of the keys – remember St. Peter was given the power of the keys – and every bishop’s shield, including mine, has a pair of crossed keys in it. It is the power to loose and to bind.
We’ve all heard that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America, but the problem is larger than this. According to a recent study, a white person's social network on average consists of 1% black, 1% Hispanic, 1 % Asian or Pacific Islander, 1%, and 1% other race. I’m Hispanic on my father’s side, but my current social network is pretty white. Fortunately, my pastor has been reaching out to other, diverse communities. We were invited to the march by an interfaith social justice organization called Faith in New York. As followers of Christ, we are called to go beyond our social networks.
A communiqué from Bishop Pierre about the crisis in Iraq. Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, The situation in Iraq has become ever more dramatic. Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims are being routinely executed, families separated, the women and girls raped and sold into slavery, and entire populations driven from their homes to wander the unsafe roads of Iraq. Recently, the French government has found that it must re-open her doors to Iraqi asylum seekers, and a few people have begun to arrive. I have heard from many of you, asking “how can I be part of this mission work?”
[National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East press release] As leaders of American Jewish, Christian, and Muslim national religious organizations, united in the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI), we welcome the ceasefire agreement of Israel and Hamas, and the negotiations to make it permanent. We were appalled by the kidnappings and murders of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. We believe the loss of even one human life is a tragedy that grieves God. In the recent weeks of war between Hamas and Israel, we mourn the innocent civilians killed. We offer our prayers as well for the wounded and for the families of all the victims of violence.
One of the church wardens at the Cathedral in Montreal owned a bookstore in the McGill University ghetto. He would put rather a lot of work into his window displays. One day there was a display of children’s religious books which contained one of those books with moveable cardboard bits in it. It was called Joseph in the Pit: A Popup Book. If you pulled a cardboard tab at the bottom Joseph would descend into the pit where he’d been cast by his brothers. If you pushed the tab he would pop up again.
A peine arrivés en France, les chrétiens d’Irak bénéficiaires d’un "visa d’asile" profitent de leur liberté de culte lors d’une messe chaldéenne à Paris. Sourires, embrassades, complicité... L’ambiance est joyeuse ce dimanche 10 août à l’église Notre-Dame de Chaldée, dans le 18e arrondissement de Paris. Tous se sont donnés rendez-vous pour la messe de 11 heures et la présence des onze réfugiés irakiens, arrivés jeudi matin en France, n’est pas sans rapport avec celle des médias et des autres fidèles catholiques.
The brochure outlining the various degree programs of the seminary I attended in Austin, TX had these words highlighted on its front cover…“How are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?” Those words served as a background to our priestly formation experience, and in the years since I’ve graduated, they have taken on further meaning for me. Arriving as part of Paul’s climactic argument in his dense, and famous letter to the Romans, the words serve to direct Paul’s hearers and readers toward the necessity of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, widely and persistently…as a sower scatters seed.