Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Bishop Search Retreat

Bishop Search Committee Retreat
Feast of the Transfiguration
August 6, 2022
Luke 9:28-36

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

For the past eight months, our Bishop Search Committee has been striving to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. To be guided in our candid conversations, and our careful reading, and our painstaking decisions.   And you all have been led by that same Spirit to submit yourselves to this extensive and intrusive process.   (I imagine you’ll be grateful if you don’t have to write another essay any time soon.)

It has been a true blessing to gather together in person these past few days, to continue our discernment with one another, finally in person.  God willing, and the people consenting, someone in this room will be the 12th Bishop of Ohio. And, no matter what happens, I am just thankful that it won’t be me.

Because the job of Bishop is hard, and lonely, and grueling. And nobody can possibly do it on their own.  And that’s why our next bishop will have staff, and have resources, and have the support and prayers of the people . . . and have Jesus.  And the greatest of these is Jesus. 

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, at least in the Episcopal Church.  As we heard, Jesus and a few disciples go up the mountain.  Jesus is praying, and he turns this dazzling white.  And suddenly, Moses and Elijah are talking to him.  After this breathtaking scene, they’re about to leave and Peter makes that curious offer to build some lodging for them (possibly for reasons connected to the festival of booths).  But also to—you know—stay up there on the mountain together.  They’ve seen Jesus and Moses and Elijah, together, in a literal mountaintop experience.  Why would you ever want to leave that behind?  Let’s all just stay right here, basking in this dazzling transfiguring moment!  But instead . . .  they come down.  Jesus comes down.

Jesus doesn’t stand up there on the mountain, shining in glory, calling out, “Come to me all who are strong, and accomplished, and self reliant!”  He does not remain on the mountaintop, glowing with magnificence saying, “You that are worthy, ascend to where I stand in all my radiance.”  He doesn’t stay there . . . because we cannot climb up.  We cannot climb up to the glory of Jesus.  We cannot get ourselves to where Jesus is.  And since we cannot climb up, Jesus comes down . . . to get us.

The point is not that we go higher. The point is that Jesus comes down. And whether you are a layperson, a Deacon, a Priest, a Bishop, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, Jesus comes down for you.

We don’t know where our paths will take us when we leave this place.  But we can all leave reassured that the same Spirit is still moving among us, and that the glorified Jesus has come down to get us.  To get all of us.  No exceptions.  Come down to us Lord Jesus, for we cannot climb up.


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