From the Daily Office Lectionary (Yr 1), Friday in the week of Proper 9B (Pentecost 6, 2015)
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Here we are, a little past half-way through the calendar year, somewhat further along in the church’s liturgical year, and we’re starting over. The middle of July and we’re back at the beginning. For an Episcopalian recently returned from the General Convention, this is a good thing! As important as the triennial governing synod is, as vital as the issues we addressed (or failed to address) in our legislative hearings and floor debates are, as necessary as elections and budgets may be, those things are also, in a very real sense, distractions. Jesus once reminded the Jews of his day that “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath.” (Mk 2:27) We need the same kind of reminder that the General Convention exists to serve the Gospel, not the other way around; beginning at the beginning does that for us. The General Convention and its results are important, but only to the extent that they serve the church in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When the issues of the day take our attention away from our main business, then the General Convention is dangerous distraction. ~ My son and daughter-in-law, both deputies to this recent Convention, took a few days of vacation to hike the mountains of Colorado. Friends (at whose stamina I marvel) flew to their homes from Salt Lake City (the location of this triennium’s synod) and almost immediately boarded other planes to fly to China or to Japan or to the Holy Land. Unlike them, I returned to home and church office and immediately dove into the minutiae of parish ministry. Unlike them, I returned to home and church office and to a barrage of questions about the work of the Convention. Unlike them, I didn’t take the time to clear my head of resolutions, elections, and budgets. I thought they were crazy to embark on vacations with such immediacy; now I see that they were wiser than me. When they return, they will be better able to focus on the beginning of the Good News. Perhaps that should be made a requirement for everyone who serves in any capacity at the General Convention: “You shall take vacation when this is finished! You shall clear your heads of all this stuff!” ~ In any event, the Convention has done its work. We have a new church reality in which to work. We are back at the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.