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January 2016

The Sacrament of the Ordinary

When I slow my pace long enough to take notice of the world around me . . . it is about paying attention and learning to live contemplatively. For some this may seem the domain of gaunt-looking saints and starry-eyed hermits. In fact, it belongs to anyone who sets out on the inward journey of seeing the world differently. It is about opening our eyes to the wonder that is present in and through all of creation. I suspect this is why Jesus said that God reigns only among children. Until we learn to see the world with the simplicity and honesty of a small child, we cannot know the fullness of God’s presence in and among us.

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with local organizations as well as Anglican Communion and ecumenical agencies to provide assistance in Syria and in Europe to people fleeing ongoing violence. In Europe, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe is helping to host and to resettle people in their new home countries. Churches are actively responding at a local level in Rome, Munich, Paris and Brussels, among other cities. "The way in which our 21 congregations have responded makes me very proud,” said The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. “While Episcopal churches in Europe have had significant refugee ministries since the Second World War, our people have unanimously increased their present work."

The former PB Frank Griswold –- I just realized that I am on my third Presiding Bishop, my third Archbishop of Canterbury, and my third Pope. Anyway, back in the dark ages when Bishop Griswold was Presiding Bishop, he used to say quite frequently – quoting AB Rowan Williams -- - that Baptism creates solidarities not of our own choosing. And he kept saying that he was quoting Archbishop Rowan Williams. Well, I happen to be a big fan of Rowan Williams’ writing, and am indeed honored to consider him my friend, so I wrote to him and said, “Dear Archbishop Rowan, Where did you write this? “Baptism creates solidarities of our own choosing.” And he wrote back, and said, “I don’t know but it sounds like me.” And indeed it is a very profound thing to say, whoever it was who said it.

Second Sunday in Christmastide

Let me begin by wishing you a happy and blessed new year, full of fresh, new joy. In the name of God, father, son and Holy Spirit. I would like to focus today on the reading from Ephesians. Paul writes blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ, with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of his Will. That is quite extraordinary – what we have been told already – that we have been blessed. We’re God’s children by adoption, and God chose us before the world was created.

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