What we are doing on earth—a bishop speaks

The Rev. Dr. Mariann Budde was consecrated as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Washington on 12 Nov 2011 and was “seated” in her cathedral and preached her first “episcopal sermon” on 13 Nov 2011 in the National Cathedral. You can read her entire sermon here: What we are doing on earth.

To whet your appetite for reading, I offer this tidbit from the midst of her remarks. It is a remeinder to all of us of the unique character of our Episcopal Church (firmly in the “Anglican Tradition”). Enjoy.

My friends of the Episcopal Diocese of this Washington, you have called me to serve as your bishop at a decisive moment of opportunity and challenge for us all. The opportunity is all around us. We of the Episcopal Church have been entrusted with a particular expression of Christ’s gospel that is priceless. Think of what it means to you to have a spiritual home with such an appreciation of mystery and all that is beyond our knowing and curiosity about the world as we can know it through the rigorous inquiry of science.

Think of what it means to you to have a spiritual home that lives the Via Media, the middle way among all expressions of Christianity, affirming the wholeness of faith that can only be fully experienced in the creative tension of polarities — heart and mind, Catholic and Protestant, word and sacrament, mysticism and service, contemplation and social engagement. Think of what it means to you to be part of a Church that does not ask its members to agree on matters of politics or theology or biblical interpretation, but rather to allow the grace of God to unite us at the altar of Christ in full appreciation of our differences and the God-given right of everyone to be welcome at God’s table.

Come back and leave a comment or two. Share your reaction to her sermon. What is stirred up within you? What did you learn? What did you relearn? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Photo: Episcopal News Service

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (now retired) in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

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