The excitement was palpable when I entered the sanctuary. You could feel it in the air and see it on the faces of everyone there. I’ll be honest, I was having a hard time convincing myself to be excited about a three-hour service with four squirmy kids who were bursting with energy after a two-hour drive. But looking around at all the activity, the last minute preparations, soon-to-be-Bishop Stewart smiling and hugging everyone he passed, I couldn’t help but feel the joyful anticipation of what was about to happen. As a friend pointed out, we were participating in a historical moment. How could I not be excited?
While I drove home after the service, I reflected on the elements of the service that were most meaningful to me. I want to share my reflections with you, from the heart of the frazzled young mom in the back row who was deeply blessed by this beautiful celebration.
First, I want to mention that this was only the second time I had been at Church of the Resurrection. Both times I have been struck by Bishop Stewart’s passion for the Lord that is so evident, so unmistakable, so fitting for the first leader of our brand new diocese. Watching him receive a gift from the children brought tears to my eyes – such a touching picture of how he will tenderly bless his flock as he shepherds us with a spirit of humility. It was also a delight to see how his joy burst forth from him with a contagious laugh as he praised God for the church planters of the Upper Midwest. And speaking of contagious, I’m quite certain that not just anyone could inspire all those bishops and priests to kick up their heels with such enthusiasm!
The worship was incredible. Beyond the remarkably talented musicians and the dancing in the aisles, it was almost surreal to be part of a body of men and women who were gathered together from near and far to praise the Living God who brought us together in that place at that moment to celebrate what He has done for us in the building up of His Kingdom on earth. Having lacked a realization of the Holy Spirit in my upbringing, I am truly grateful to be part of this body in which the Spirit’s presence is tangible in worship, in the liturgy, in Word and Sacrament, in community, in leadership, in everything.
The spoken word was also powerful, as Bishop Stewart’s wife Katherine read her poignant poem and his brother Fr. Christian urged us to always start with the question, “Do I love Jesus?” As I consider Fr. William’s charge to come to Jesus and take His yoke instead of the burdens of this world, I am reminded that He has gone before us. He is preparing the way for this new diocese to bring revival to the Upper Midwest. May we all take this charge to walk with Jesus and learn from Him the unforced rhythms of grace (Matt. 11, The Message).
August 24, 2017
July 31, 2017
June 23, 2015