Today I have been involved in a mission that felt quite ordinary, humble. But an old friend put a grander label on it this week, a label that is actually true. I had called my friend, a priest in New England, to ask him about a priest who might apply for a job in Nevada. I called him because I trust his judgment. His good words about someone I don’t know allowed me to trust the stranger. My friend also talked about the duties of bishops. One of those duties, he said, is “tying the world together.”
“Tying the world together.” That in fact was what I was doing when I called him on the phone. That is what I have been doing today in Los Angeles. Bishops from the West including the Pacific met here at the Cathedral Center. We spent half the day and some of the night telling each other about our lives and the lives of our dioceses. It was an exercise in knowing each other. We do this every January. Tomorrow, we will talk about loftier matters of polity, liturgy, and theology. But today was not lofty. It was humble (humble from the same root as humus – earthy). It was the ordinary life of Christians today.
Last Saturday, the Deans of the Diocese of Nevada and I met on line and did the same thing. We talked of each other’s lives and the goings on in the parishes so far flung over our high desert. We groaned, laughed, and advised each other. But most importantly, we connected and in connecting, we were tying the world together.
And isn’t that what we do when we eat from one loaf, drink from one cup, celebrate the Holy Communion, when we say “The Lord be with you” -- “And also with you.;” when we confess our sins and our faith alike saying not “I” but “we;” when we pray for each other and this earth we share? Are we not trying the world together?
I exchanged messages tonight with a priest in Reno, a seminarian in Berkeley, a bishop and a community development worker in the Philippines – tying the world together. It isn’t gravity that keeps this orb from flying apart. It’s the act of knowing each other, caring for each other, wishing each other well.