It’s a big election year and all the media and online chatter seems to be focused on who is best qualified to be our next leader. I won’t risk getting political here, but I am more than willing to boast that, as an Episcopalian, I am thrilled with our church’s leader – Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop. Recently, I had the good fortune to hear him speak at the National Press Club. He was there thanks to the generous invitation/work of Christ Church parishioner, Susan Hahn.

Bishop Curry began by speaking of his longtime admiration of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King. He mentioned how King’s words continue to be true just as much today as they were in the 1960s. He quoted the martyr’s words that we either “learn to live together as brother and sister, or we will perish together as fools.”

As the Bishop spoke, I found myself thinking of all of the times that humanity has “perished together” over issues that were not resolved with reconciliation. The option, as he pointed out, is to have community or to have chaos.

At this past summer’s General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the two issues the representatives decided should be our primary focus over the next few years (and beyond) are racial reconciliation and evangelism. Bishop Curry said that the fact that the church agreed to take on these timely issues was a sure sign that “the Holy Spirit is definitely messin’ with us.” We, as The Episcopal Church, have a unique opportunity to continue to be leaders in reconciliation by always acting in the name of love. Not vengeance, fear, or guilt – but love.

As followers of Jesus, and part of this Jesus Movement, we are to go where people are hurting and spread love. There will be disagreement, as witnessed at the last gathering of the Anglican Primates in Canterbury, but Bishop Curry made it clear that this church would not be stepping back from its core belief that we are all children of God and should be received with love.

It was an inspiring message delivered that morning. As I left I was thinking how often I had heard this message, not just from Bishop Curry but also from a host of other clergy and laity. If we really believe it, perhaps this is what we need to do – continue to repeat this same message over and over. The loudest voices of the Christian tradition (as well as the traditions of Islam and Judaism) are those at the extreme side. It is these voices that are driving so many away from the church.

The Bishop believes, and I second, that if we work to spread our message as well, we can overcome those other voices. We need to be repeating this message constantly – daily, if not hourly or more – Jesus taught us to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbors as ourselves. He was quite clear that there is no more important message to be found in the Bible than this. I can’t count the number of times I have cringed when I’ve heard someone say something outlandish and say that they are speaking from the heart of their Christian faith. No they’re not, and it is us up to us to drown out their message with the message of Jesus found throughout the Gospels.

So, let us resolve this Lent to shout it from the rooftops by both our words and actions. Like the old camp song says: They’ll know we are Christians by our love. 

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