Monday evening I was blessed to attend the opening of Nuevo Amanecer, a conference sponsored by the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America for increasing and enhancing Latino and Hispanic ministry. There were over 450 people in attendance. We sang and prayed and received the Eucharist and felt God’s blessing. The theme of the conference was Together We Grow/ Unidos Crecemos. I am particularly grateful to the Rev. Anthony Guillén, the missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministry for the Episcopal Church for his vision and work and to the Rev. Hilario Cisneros and the Rev. Miguel Alvarez for their work in our diocese.
As I stood among this celebratory throng Monday evening, I thought to myself, “This is our country at its best. This is what we must walk towards.” “Together we grow” sounds a lot like “United States.” During this election it’s tempting to give into a kind of cynicism about the state of our country much less the world. We are reminded daily that many of our political leaders will not work with each other and we hear a drumbeat from those running for office about what’s wrong with our nation and how terrible their opponents are.
However, this is the day the Lord has made and this is our “one wild and precious life.” In the Eucharistic prayer we are called to “lift our hearts up to the Lord” which means to set our sights on the New Jerusalem—God’s city where all God’s children live in peace and harmony. As we do that, we discover that we experience that heavenly destination here and now if we look for it. As the saints say, “All the way to heaven is heaven and all the way to hell is hell.” We find what we are looking for.
Let us do our civic duty. Let us participate in the election process and keep abreast of the news, but let us also be agents of the Good News by remembering “Together we grow/ Unidos Crecemos.”
I am very happy to announce that I have accepted a position as Visiting Professor of Episcopal Studies at The Wake Forest University School of Divinity beginning in the fall of 2017. In the spring of 2017 I will be teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. I am grateful for these opportunities.