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I’m flying to Chicago tomorrow and heading to the RCA General Synod. I am a delegate from the NY Classis. Thanks to Reverend Tim TenClay and the Seminarian Seminar, since 2009 I’ve participated in, or watched Synod carefully on my screen. (Seriously, that cohort of new pastors is some of the best-spirited life at Synod. Get to know them.)
Some of my friends think I’m a little too much of a church nerd for liking Synod. “Jes we know you are a pastor and everything, but how can you take the politics and church bickering so much?” I guess I don’t see it that way. Yes there are politics involved (and I like that) but it’s more than a political convention; it’s the body of Christ doing the work of the church and worshipping together. I always imagine the great church counsels of history when I go to Synod as our church leaders of the past theologically and passionately discussed our creeds that have been passed down to us today. Perhaps I’m romanticizing it, but I feel our ancestors when I’m sitting on the floor and I hope I join them in Spirit with the same passion and intelligence.
I’ve been journaling my hopes for Synod and I thought it might be helpful if we all share some of our hopes. So I’ll start and then you can add your hopes in the comments. Maybe we can begin the listening process here.
Here’s what I hope for….
- I hope to embrace my friends I haven’t seen in a year and share stories and catch up on life and ministry.
- I hope Synod votes in favor of Overture 4.
- I hope for mutual respect, compassion, kindness and dignity.
- I hope for the Holy Spirit.
- I hope for freedom and life instead of fear.
- I hope my friends take me out for whiskey on my birthday (Saturday, June 13th. If I have to spend my birthday at Synod this seems like a fair request!)
- I hope we join in conversations and actions surrounding #BlackLivesMatter.
- I hope to listen.
- I hope to speak with love, justice, courage, and healing.
- I hope to laugh.
- I hope to pray with people I agree and disagree with.
- I hope we stand together, in many variations, boldly sharing the radical love of Jesus Christ.
- I hope for good coffee.
- I hope for wisdom when we discern difficult topics.
- I hope for a multicultural future freed from racism.
- I hope to be surprised by hope (thank you, N.T. Wright).
So what about you? What do you hope for? What intentions do you bring to the Synod this week? Please share in the comments. I look forward to seeing you with our family of faith over the next few days. Safe travels to you all.