In his latest Reconciling Thought, Bishop Brian Cole explores the theme for the upcoming 38th Annual Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee: Help Us Be Honest, Humble, Hopeful.
For more information on Diocesan Convention, visit www.dioceseconvention.org.
Hello. I’m Bishop Brian.
Today, I want to share with you the theme for our upcoming Diocesan Convention, scheduled for this coming February.
Your Bishop and Council, after much prayer and reflection, invites you and me to engage the theme, Help us Be Honest, Humble, and Hopeful. Friends, please know how grateful I am to your Bishop and Council and that they continue to prayerfully consider our East Tennessee home and how this place shapes our call to serve God and the Church here and now.
The theme begins with the word, Help. Like the Psalms, our theme is a song and a prayer. It is a cry for divine Help. In every season, whether in joy or sorrow, God is our help. So, this year’s theme begins by reminding that God is the true source of our lives and the one to which you and can turn in times of need. Friends, we all need God’s divine help in this time.
From there, the theme invites us to be honest. That is refreshing, is it not? If we can start from a place that is real, that is vulnerable, that does not have to hide from the places that are hard, or from the questions we cannot yet answer, then we can all begin together, at the same place, calling out to the same God. So, our Bishop and Council calls us to a place of honesty, of transparency, of grounding what God might do next through us with the real story of where we are now, before we take the next step in God’s story of us.
This theme also speaks of a call to be humble, to practice humility. In Philippians 2, we hear another ancient song, a song of Incarnation, where Jesus descends and is willing to take on human flesh. The Incarnation is an act of humble inhabiting of God’s deepest presence in our truest place.
So, you and I follow the Christ, who is humble and holy. From an honest start, it makes good gospel sense that we follow a humble path. Holy humility keeps us all honest. Honesty values and understands that humble leaders are leaders who last. You and I are in this work for the long haul.
Finally, this theme calls us to be hopeful. How about you and I commit to making hopeful the word going forward for us in 2022? With divine help, starting from an honest place, moving with humble gestures, hope and hopefulness, I believe, will be the fruit we bear, through God’s grace, this year. God is still with us. God is still acting. There are people already in our midst ready to serve now and there are new people finding us, asking what is the hope we have in this time?
The hope we have is the story that has been entrusted to us from the very beginning. Emmanuel, God with us. In our most fragile place, in the most fragile time, God showed up and continues to show up.
Our Bishop and Council wants to invite you and me to show up at our February Diocesan Convention, where with God’s help, we will renew our call to be honest and humble and hopeful people.
By the way, this theme is not simply for those who will serve and make decisions at Diocesan Convention. This theme is for all East Tennessee Episcopalians. Make this your song, our prayer, the next steps we take together in 2022.