My Prayer for Lambeth and for Bishop Robinson
It's almsot here. Bishops from around the world are taking off for the Lambeth Conferece. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, though officially not invited, is leaving for England to preach in surrounding churches and meet with any in the Palace's visiting hall willing to enter into dialogue. He will be sending home both blogs and videos at two webpages with absolutely delightful names - Canterbury Tales from the Fringe and The Lambeth Gene Pool. Bishop Robinson has a number of specific prayer requests which you can read at The Lead, and James at The Three Legged Stool (what a wonderful name for an Episcopal blog!) has a helpful round-up of other blogging bishops. Here, then, is my own prayer for Lambeth and for Bishop Robinson, as well as a perfect picture that James was good enough to post. It is now my desktop wallpaper, replacing a picture of Barack Obama and Desmond Tutu.
Our Anglican leaders will soon be gathering at Lambeth Palace in England for a visit with the Archbishop of Canterbuy. They will be discussing the church's work, the proper interpretation of Scripture, homosexuality, gender, poverty, and more.
Please guide these men and women in their discussions. So many of our authority figures have decreed that whatever they believe is your will, and to be against them is to be against you. Please help our bishops to heal these rifts. Humble us all, and erase our arrogance. Please bestow upon Lambeth a feeling of respect and reconciliation, and help the bishops and primates to discern your will rather than their own. Give Archbishop Williams the strength of heavenly courage, and help his leadership skills to shine through in this, our church, our species, and our planet's deepest time of need.
Father, I pray that the church's work be your work; that our interpretation of Scripture find the meaning it has, not the meaning we want it to have; that all your children are welcomed; and that justice overcomes oppression wherever it is found, through faith, hope, love, grace, and wisdom.
I especially pray today for Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Lord, if you do not wish his presence in your church, then I thank you for his lack of an invitation to Lambeth, but I would be shocked if this was the case, as I am positive that I feel the Holy Spirit's warmth whenever I sit in his presence and hear him preach. Lord, it feels as if I see your grace in him and your path in his work. Please be with him as he travels to London. Grant him safe passage, and help him to touch the hearts of all whom he meets. Protect him from death threats, and open his heart to as much growth as he brings to others. Keep him grounded in the Spirit so that he may show only love, forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion, and help him to speak only your words.
Be also with my own bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jim Waggoner of Spokane. Lord, I ask again that you help all these bishops to be humble and to discern your will so that they may arrive at your truth, whatever it may be. Guide them in their conversations, and us in ours.
Lord, I thank you for the gifts of faith, hope, love, mercy, grace, and wisdom. It is in Jesus' name I pray,
(I would also like to direct your attention to this interview with Bishop Robinson. In it, he says the death threats he has recieved were part of the reason he and his partner, Mark, got their civil union when they did. When I first read that, I had to pause; it is a very chilling thought.)