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On Coming Home

On the evening of Saturday, April 30th, Denise and I crossed over the Illinois State line into the Diocese of Springfield from Indiana on SR 36. The brilliant orange sun was setting far in the west as we approached a gentle as well as welcome rain shower. The fields to our left and to our right were being tilled for planting and our hearts leapt for joy. This is home. The Diocese of Springfield now is our voice, our vision, our priority, our definition, our joy and the inception of our song. It invites us into an embrace that expects we will be faithful, true and bold. And because it does, no more appropriate words came to mind than this prayerful proclamation: “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are all well able to overcome it.”

I look forward to living that mantra every day. I look forward to our encouraging one another and others to be strong, confident and noble in our faith. We have bread, we have wine, we have the Word of God and we have apostolic orders.  What more could we possibly want or need? No, the physical will never prevail alone.  Only who we are, and whose we are becoming before our altars will win the day for Christ Jesus.  Only by the intentional means of Holy Eucharist will we be brought to that heavenly city where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting (The Book of Common Prayer, pg. 483).

There will always be challenging times and alarming news. There will always be giants, the descendants of Anak occupying the land that we are promised as sons and daughters of Christ Jesus our Lord. However, there is also the abundance of our sacramental faith that leads us through adversity, barrenness, and struggles that have been well placed by God to test us, to temper us, to strengthen us and to prepare us for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ in glorious Majesty and an eternal life of worshipping God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps the verse that is intended to strike steel at this moment of our collective exodus together is one that many simply overlook as incidental, transitory, fleeting or even unnecessary to the overall conversation being had between heaven and earth. But for those who constitute the Diocese of Springfield, these are often the very verses that give us clear indication of where it is we are headed on exodus together. Consider well the verse that completes the narrative of how Moses set apart and then sent spies into the land of promise in order to scout out all that lies ahead of the people of God: “Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.” (Numbers 13:20b)

This, too, is our season of growth and prosperity. I look forward to being with you in so many new, exciting, challenging and often unsettling ways as we make our way from deliverance toward promise together; this side of Easter.  “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

In the peace of God, which passeth all understanding;

BKB+

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