Today is Ready Day at the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. The last of the Bishops and Deputies are flying in to Salt Lake City, registration begins in a few hours, the exhibits open at 9, and legislative committee meetings start this evening, all in preparation for the Big Event. Tomorrow is orientation, more committee meetings, and the PB Nominees will take part in their very own Dog and Pony Show. It all leads up to Wednesday’s opening Eucharist and the opening gavel bang.
Every person attending General Convention has their own idea of what it should focus on. Some think Marriage Equality is the most important thing we’ll do here, others argue that an honest conversation about the Church’s relationship with alcohol is most needed, while still others will say that their own particular social justice issue is most pressing: drones, fracking, women’s issues, you names, we’ve got a resolution dealing with it. Me? I think the most important thing we could do at the 78th General Convention is live into the principles laid out in the Memorial to the Church, but I would think that, since I helped write it.
What I’m afraid of, however, is what happens in Sunday’s Gospel lesson: Distractions!
Jesus is on his way to help save a you girl, the daughter of Jairus, a leader in the Synagogue, who was close to death. As he made his way through the crowded streets, a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years realized it was her chance to be healed by this miracle worker. It isn’t that her issue wasn’t important, it most certainly was, it was that it caused such a distraction that ultimately, Jairus’ daughter died while Jesus was dealing with something else.
The Good News in this story is that Jesus can bring the little girl back to life. My concern is that we’ll get so bogged down in the minutiae, that the distractions will keep us from doing the work we have come here to do: that competing voices will create such a cacophony that we won’t be able to hear ourselves think. Sure, we’ll deal with important issues, no matter what, but will we deal with what is most pressing, most urgent, most able to allow us to leave here having begun the work of adaptive change for the building of the Kingdom? I hope so, and that is my prayer on Ready Day at GC78.