Flying cross-country from Boston to California, I managed to get a window seat. I slept the first few hours, but we were pretty much above just clouds for that part. Then, somewhere mid-country, the cloud cover totally cleared and I simply ignored the fact that I had carried a book with me that I've been wanting to read for a long time. Instead, I pressed my face against the window and watched the amazing country 36,000 feet below. The airline had a GPS navigation map on the seat back for each of us, so I was able to follow the map along with the rivers and major road lines, keeping track as we passed into South Dakota and dropped south over Nebraska. What amazing patchwork of farmland our country is! I wasn't aware before of just how different the colors of the various crops could be. Some looked pink or even violet. The various greens were expected, but they were seemingly outnumbered by the golds and rusts. It was breathtaking.
Then across Colorado, with its flat eastern farmlands leading abruptly into amazing mountains. The snow up high caught my eye immediately. It was still fairly early morning in that time zone, and the slanted sunlight and stark shadows accentuated the wild youth of these western mountains. So different from the eastern ones that wrap me up with "home".
Then on over red rock and canyonland. Stark bare buttes and broad flat mountaintop plateaus. I was a bit overwhelmed with the amazing diversity of land that is part of the one whole we call the United States of America.
Then I spent a few days in San Francisco. We have our own versions of "diversity" in New Hampshire, but it is pretty White there! Not San Francisco. Chinatown. The Fillmore Jazz Festival. Everywhere I went there were varieties of colors and languages. What a treat to once again be reminded of the amazing diversity of peoples and experiences and backgrounds that are part of the one whole we call the people of the United States of America.
And then I arrived at General Convention - the once every three year gathering of those chosen by the Episcopal Church to lead by setting policy and envisioning program and making some very hard budget decisions. General Convention brings together people from many different nations, many different languages, many colors and backgrounds and life situations. Many different gospel passions. And I am struck by the wonder and beauty of the possibility held in the coming together of our differences. Of holding them side by side. Of the possibility of showing such a wonder of God's making to the world around us.
And now, to bed. It's been a long first day. Committee work began at 8 this morning. We had a half hour break for lunch, and because of our diocesan deputation gathering to share notes, only a short time for dinner, and ended at 9 tonight. This is not an easy job! But, I spend my first day full of hope. God is good. And I believe that Jesus will get what Jesus prays for. May we all be one, as Jesus and the Father are one.
Publication of Bishop George Bell independent review
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