Oh well... let me just say my mind was blown and I was, again, rocked to my soul.
In many ways, this was just a regular old meeting, reports given, official things said.... That would be the framework upon which this meeting was spread --but, in most ways it was not, so VERY not a regular old meeting. The meeting was hinged in constant prayer, many blessings (of things and people), abundant meals shared in memory of some one --offered and served by family members, and gift giving. At every turn, there was gift giving, lots of gift giving. More wondrous gifts than can be imagined. ++Katharine was honored with quilts, blankets, medallions --as was Bonnie Anderson --who was also adopted by members of the church I serve in White Horse. Every Bishop present received gifts... and many others were honored as well....
The whole point of the meeting was to be together, pray, eat together, hear stories of the last year, remember, and exchange gifts. This was the point of the meeting: We survived the winter, it wasn't so bad this year --so and so died, but we had this many baptisms, this important thing happened, and in gratitude for being here and seeing you again --I want to give this away.
Holy time. Time filled with grace and thanksgiving. And sacrifice. A continuous Eucharist lasting from Thursday night through to the Day of Resurrection.
I wonder what would happen if General Convention met like that --no politics, no resolutions --reports given mostly as stories or jokes, people honored, gifts given... not smartly crafted word wonks, but gifts of the heart....
There wasn't a single report from the missions on the Reservations that didn't mention plumbing --I mentioned our new two-seater at St. Mary's, Promise... the report from Standing Rock mentioned how they, too, had new outdoor plumbing--ones that might not blow over... same with the other missions.
I would love to hear that kind of reality at GC....
And yet, the stories were not about the rampant poverty, but about the abundance of the Spirit --and gratitude. And only one mission spoke of having to close a particular church, but how it blessed the other churches in its closing by sharing its pews, its font, its altar....
There was also talk that this was the first Convocation held indoors --and how much they really missed the big tent --and where were all the people who usually camped out on the grounds --and next year, we are going to have to bring horse shoe games or our mitts and bats to play soft ball....
To the serious stuff... at one point in the missionary history of the Dakotas, all the cultural items --buffalo robes, eagle feather fans, pipes, drums --all these were condemned and confiscated by the white missionaries.... As a sign of repentance and reconciliation, a buffalo robe with the Gospel of Luke written in the style of winter-talk was given...
|Reconciliation robe with the Gospel of Luke recorded|
The Gospel of Luke written in the ancient method of the People, read from the inside out:
|The Gospel of Luke --the Revelation, in the ancient method of the People|
Yes, I know the pictures leak over into the margins... at least they do so in "Preview" mode.... But, I couldn't help myself.
As to the little stuff... Mr. Witty insisted in sleeping under the tick trees and in the long tick grass:
|Mr. Witty sleeping, oblivious to the ticks|
--and our tent was pretty wonderful, even in the midst of really powerful storms.
|We called her the Taj Mahal|
We called our tent 'The Taj' until this pretentious semi-truck length load and the truck to pull it showed up:
|Raptor... a predator... aptly named|
And here are gifts being given:
|Bishops receiving quilts. |
The "Staff" folks are from the camp, come up for the weekend to work the Convocation.
|Some of the quilts and blankets that were given, some auctioned|
|A quilt that was auctioned to benefit someone who needed an organ transplant. |
It was sold for $500, but $1,000 was given... such generosity was continuous
|Bishop John Tarrant receiving a beaded deer-skin stole|
During the auction, I bid against the Bishop for a Pendleton blanket. He won (how does one not let one's bishop win). But then afterwards, he and his wife came and gave the blanket to me, insisting that it would be rude for me not to take the gift.... The blanket was being auctioned to support medical treatment for one of my parishioners.... I must/will do something prayerful with it.
At the very end of the Eucharist, which was the small humble meal offered and received at the altar, all walk out and each one of us greeted one another --until all are greeted --in a whole circle --except there was no place to make a circle, so we did a very long continuous line... but all were greeted.
|Those are Deacon's hands there in front of ++Katharine --Deacon is sitting down|
The common greeting is 'Thank you' --or, 'Wopila' --hurrah and thank you all together... or, 'See you again' (never good-bye)....
At prayer this morning (from Romans 1)
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.Yeppa.
Amen to that.
And, so, we are home, strengthened for the work before us. Thanks be to God.