Sunday, June 3, 2012

Prayer for the Election of a Bishop

Yesterday at Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield, it was my honor as Chair of the Search Committee for the ninth Bishop of Western Massachusetts to present the slate of five nominees and then to offer a prayer at the electing convention. The prayer was based on Acts 2, and since several persons asked me to share it, it is reprinted below. (RMS)

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us. Fall afresh on us—and then melt us, mold us, fill us, use us.

We—your disciples—have come from north and south, from east and west: from Williamstown to Millville; from Fitchburg to Sheffield. We speak different theological languages and we call to you in different ways.

But in you there is no east or west. We have come to be in this one place, to be together on this day to do this holy work for your holy people.  So even now, we pray that you would blow through us like the rush of the wind. Even now we pray that you might fill this cathedral with your presence. Even now, we pray that you might set our hearts on fire with your love. Even now, we pray that you might bewilder us until our ears hear your Word, each in our own native tongue.

Amaze, astonish and perplex us…until our amazement and our astonishment and our perplexity lead us yet again to proclaim your mighty deeds of power.

We are not filled with new wine! It is only 10:30 in the morning! We are filled with your life-giving Spirit, shared with us in Holy Baptism. We have been sealed, and marked, and claimed as your beloved daughters and sons. Your Spirit is alive among your faithful people, renewing this part of Massachusetts and renewing the face of the earth. So open our hearts and eyes and ears even now, to embrace your lure toward tomorrow. Fill us until our cups runneth over and we too see visions and dream dreams of the future you invite us to embrace without fear.  

We pray for Ron , Nancy, Rich, Mark, and Doug—and for their families and friends and for the congregations they serve. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on them and remind them today and always that whatever comes, they too have been sealed and marked and claimed as your own forever. May they know to the core of their being that they are your beloved, each called by name.

Spirit of the living God, source of all wisdom and understanding, remain with us as we take counsel for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us, even here and even now, to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and give us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it.

We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, your son, our Lord.  Amen.

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