Month: April 2014

May grace and peace be yours in abundance

Sermon at St. Paul’s-on-the-Hill, Ossining, NY April 27, 2014

May grace and peace be yours in abundance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

El Greco-Vision of St. John-Metropolitan Museum

El Greco-Vision of St. John-Metropolitan Museum

Every year, on the second Sunday of Easter, we have the Gospel about the Resurrection appearance to Thomas. I love Thomas, and I love this story. So when I was thinking about what to say, I thought, I’ve written something like this before. Indeed I found something very like what I wanted to say—my sermon here at St. Paul’s, last year. And that had quite a bit in common with the sermon I preached at Trinity last Sunday, so maybe I should push out a little further.

The resurrection of Christ defines who we are—it is not just another miraculous event or fun story. Christianity is inconceivable without the life that Jesus lived, and his life is not real or believable apart from his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. It is a great and incomprehensible mystery that God, the creator of all life and of everything that is, lives among us as one of us. But there would be nothing real about his human life if he skipped over the things that all human beings go through: ultimately death, of course; but also the human interactions of love and indifference, of fear and faithfulness, of insincerity, cowardice, betrayal.

It is only in the context of that real, authentic life that God does a new thing: not magic, or coming up with a happy ending at the end of a sad play or movie. The resurrection is founded in the reality of the world. Jesus’ life incorporates all of the human struggle and experience—the good, the evil, the joy, the very human screw-ups that might come from good intentions of overwhelmed people or bad intentions that are covered up by insincerity and self-delusion. When all of that culminates in the crucifixion, and death seems to be the final reality, God does something new. The resurrection denies none of that. The resurrection is in real life. The resurrection is new and abundant life, spilling out all over—it is the life we see in Jesus all along, his courage, his love, his joy, his compassion. It is God’s love incorporated in every corner of this world.

And so in our reading from the first Epistle of Peter it says “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” We are born into a living hope. A living hope is not a dead hope or wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is something like, “If I just win the jackpot on the Powerball, then my problems will be solved.” That kind of wish is not hope; it’s just a desire to escape present reality. Every once in a while, most of us wish that way, but a dollar and a dream is not hope, and probably winning the lottery wouldn’t actually solve the problems that we think it will. A dead hope, you might call nostalgia, looks for restoration of something from the past, maybe a time remembered as hopeful. But hope is not the restoration of some feelings or circumstances that are gone—looking to the past for hope, that’s what I would call dead hope as compared to living hope.

Living hope is the life of Christ going forward. Our present and our future reality are in the living, resurrected Christ. And hope is of the real world—this passage continues: “In this you rejoice, even if now you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith…may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” There has never been a time when Christians have not participated in the difficulties of the real world. And at all those same times we rejoice because we are incorporated in that real life of Christ—the resurrection that incorporates all reality.

“Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

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Supposing him to be the gardener

A sermon for Easter Sunday April 20, 2014

Trinity Church, Ossining, New York

Supposing him to be the gardener she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

            On Easter Sunday, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, that death is defeated; even the humiliation and agony of his execution on a cross is overcome—Life has overcome Death.  That’s why we’re here—because life has overcome death.  Of an Easter Sunday morning, many come hoping for solid simple assurance. We all like to imagine a day when we think life was simpler, everybody believed in the Bible and it was no challenge to believe in the Resurrection.  Others stay away, because all of that seems too simple, too glib and the complex problems of life aren’t just fixed with easy answers, at least not now, not in this modern world where it’s more difficult to have belief.

I believe the Bible.  So let’s pay close attention to the Gospel lesson for today.  Outside that tomb in a garden near Calvary, it might well have been a beautiful spring morning, it was certainly in the spring.  But it did not start out with hope and Easter eggs and getting all dressed up for a joyful feast.emptytomb-300x243 Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ disciple and friend, was going out, after the Sabbath had ended, perhaps to mourn, perhaps to finish tending to the body of her friend. A wealthy disciple had Jesus’ body placed in a tomb which was sealed shut with a large stone.  Mary saw something disturbing—the stone had been removed from the opening—she ran to get the guys, they look in—the body is gone but the wrappings from the body have been left behind—Peter and the other guy leave, one happy and the other confused—and Mary remains behind crying.  There’s someone else in the tomb—two of them [the word “angel” means messenger in Greek, and our standard image of the angels with wings didn’t really emerge until the Middle Ages, or even the Renaissance]—and what do they say?— they say, “Woman, why are you crying?”

Really, this is just too much.

Life could be no more chaotic, if you had to change the baby three times, break up two fights between the kids and poke the teenager yet again to get him out the door on Sunday morning.

And then there’s another man standing there, probably the gardener who takes care of this place—he says it too, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

“If you have taken him away, tell me where you put him!” This is not the only time in the stories about Jesus’ resurrection that a person looks right at Jesus and does not recognize him. In the Gospel of Luke, on the road to Emmaus, two of his disciples walked with him for miles before they recognized him when he broke the bread. And in the Gospel of John in Jesus’ final appearance to the disciples at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus talks with the disciples for quite a while and gives them fishing advice before Peter recognizes him and puts on his clothes and jumps into the water. Recognizing Jesus was not so simple, and plain and self-evident, even for Jesus’ closest friends two thousand years ago.

And Jesus spoke her name: “MariAM.”  “Rabbouni” she said to her teacher.  He was no longer dead, but alive, and sending her to share this life, this Gospel with the others.

Now, note—recognizing Jesus did not make everything simple or smooth.  Not everyone took Mary’s word for it, or respected her, yet with that one word, “Mariam” everything changed.  Jesus is alive, and death no longer has power over him or over Mary—he called her by name.

Christ rose from the dead.  The final reality and meaning is not death, destruction and dissolution, but life.  And the meaning of that life, that final reality, is the love that is the life of God, the creator who has entered into his creation, who intimately knows our real life, even to the point of dying with us and for us.  Even if it feels like despair, as Mary of Magdala appears early in this lesson to be despairing, that despair has no reality, for Jesus is as near to us as he was to her.  He is our hope, no matter how we feel or what we might think. He is our hope because he lives.  He is OUR hope because he has called us by name.

We have travelled through the season of Lent—that season is the time when from very early on, the church prepared new candidates for baptism.  This year, we walk the way with those candidates, called Catechumens, through the lessons—Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness; Nicodemus, coming by night and learning that he must be born from above—that God did not send the Son into the world to condemn it, but that it might be saved through him; the Samaritan woman at the well, who received living water, the man born blind who received his sight; the two sisters who had lost their brother, Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead.  In each of these lessons we learn more about dying to self and being raised to life in Christ in baptism. In baptism, Christians receive their name.

Jesus calls us each by name. Sometimes we don’t hear, sometimes we don’t recognize it. But Christ is here, for us and with us and in us.  The ultimate meaning of this world, despite what any might do, is life that dwells in God’s love. Fear and hate, as real and compelling as they might seem at times, have no permanent power. Even for Mary Magdalen, the death of Jesus felt like the triumph of violence, but in the end God stands it on its head, it is Jesus, not the manager of that garden who speaks to her.  It is the love of God in Christ that triumphs.

In our service at Easter, we invite you all, at the time we usually say the Nicene Creed, to join with all of us in reaffirming your baptismal vows.  We travel with Jesus, we die with him, and he calls us each by name.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia.

It is finished

cross“It is finished.” What is finished? We might be tempted to pass over these last words–Jesus has been through a lot. So have we–all through the journey of Lent there are references to Jesus’ cross or his crucifixion, and then this week the story is told at least two different ways. It is draining to go through this execution–and there are so many ways, in the mass of the detail of Jesus’ suffering, that we can miss the point—
One way is to abstract from Jesus’ real life and reduce the crucifixion to a theological principle. One way this has been done is to assert that Jesus had to die in order to satisfy the debt owed to God for all the sins and crimes of humanity, other times I run into preachers and theologians who are at great pains to demonstrate that Jesus’ suffering was the most or the worst possible—but in both cases, Jesus suffering and death becomes symbolic and detached from his actual life and in fact, from ours.
At the other pole, it is common to focus on our own emotional response, and all the details of Jesus’ suffering to the point where we are overwhelmed. There is a great danger in this—when faced with such enormity of suffering, human beings lose their perspective, and either fall into despair or disavow their own place in this—“Who is responsible for doing this injustice to this good man?” How often in Christian history have people asked that question and then answered it with… “The Jews”? And it’s not any better to ask the same question and answer it with “the Romans”, or “the military industrial complex” or “the Tea Party.”
The life of Jesus that we see in the Gospels is, above all, a real life of a real person. The authenticity of his humanity shows us who God is. The way in which he lived his life reveals to us what we can be. If we say that he is sinless or perfect, it is not a perfection that makes Jesus distant or unapproachable…it is not in trivialities that Jesus is perfect, but in his life of love. We see it in the joyful teacher, the host who gives bread to the crowds on the mountainside, the obedient Son who supplies gallons upon gallons of wine for the wedding guests. We see his love in the courage to heal people when he wasn’t supposed to, for loving people who everyone knew were sinners.
And he led his disciples, inexorably, and against their better judgment, to Jerusalem. In that sacred city, all that was significant of humanity was gathered: pilgrims and people celebrating the feast, imperial bureaucrats and soldiers to enforce empire, religious officials trying and hoping to keep everything from falling apart, and religious zealots and nationalist insurrectionists trying to blow everything up. Jesus came to them in Jerusalem, as he comes to us in Ossining, to love them. And what we see, in a concentrated way, is what people usually do: they are fearful, greedy, some scheme and find ways to assert power over others, others avoid doing what they know is right because it will be difficult. They are all concerned for themselves, afraid to give, because they might lose something. Each person plays a part, whether priest, or soldier or disciple or bureaucrat—and Jesus, the real, living, loving Jesus—is put on the cross.

Looking down, he sees there a disciple whom he loved, and his mother. And he says “there is your mother” and “there is your son.” Look, and love. Attend not to your own hardship, but love and care for one another. Jesus had no power to stop all the ugliness and violence of the turn that human reality had taken on that day, but he looked with love on those people and reminded those who could hear to get outside of their own concerns and to take care of one another.
After this, … Jesus knew that all was now finished. When Jesus had received the wine, he said. “It is finished.”

It was completed, this life of abundance and love. All aspects of humanity had been faced, and loved and blessed. Even this ugly death he blessed and embraced. For three days it could not be known that that the ugliness and fear and cowardice and hate of Jesus friends and enemies alike had been redeemed and transformed by this Life.

His life was really complete, facing and incorporating that universal human reality that we avoid: his death. Three days in the tomb. Yet we are here, the church is here, because God in Jesus did not let death be the final word or the defeat of that life—the generous, hospitable, and all loving life of Jesus encompassed and incorporated all that human confusion and evil could muster, and brought forth a new creation. But the resurrection … that’s the story for Sunday morning.

 

A New Commandment I give–That you love one another as I have loved you

Maunday Thursday St. Paul’s-on-the-Hill, Ossining, New York. April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday at St. Paul’s was an informal affair, built around a parish potluck.

First were the lessons [Exodus 12:1-14a –the Passover; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26—the Institution of the Eucharist; John 13:1-15—the footwashing at the last supper].footwashing_02 Then the invitation and instructions, which include an explanation that we are all servants of one another, so even though the priest might want to claim all the “juniority” for himself to prove that he’s really the Jesus character in all this, it is really appropriate for the congregation to wash one another’s feet.  Which they then proceeded to do.

A wonderful and various meal ensued.  There were edifying plays, in which a delivery person tries to find someone to take a cross off his hands.  At the end was the celebration of the Eucharist, in which the story and explanation of the last supper was told, as outlined below.

Eucharistic Prayer

C:The Lord be with you.

P:And also with you.

C:Lift up your hearts.

P:We lift them to the Lord.

C:Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

P:It is right to give him thanks and praise.

We thank you, O Father, for the creation of the world and for the redemption of your people Israel. And for giving your only Son, bringing all of us your redemption.

The story—

  • Jesus and his disciples came to the Holy City at the time of the Passover.
  • The story of the Passover:

o   Enslavement in Egypt

o   Moses confronting Pharoah

o   The first born and the Passover lamb

o   The red sea and wandering in the desert

o   Entry into the promised land

o   Participation in the meal as participation in the Exodus

  • Jesus and his friends at Passover

o   Seder or before the seder? Probably a special meal anticipating what was to happen.

o   The threat, the expectation

o   The bread, the wine, the footwashing

o   Participating in the Eucharist as participation in Jesus

Eucharisteo, We thank you, father for this life, the life of your people sanctified in Jesus, your Son.

And so, Father, we bring you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

On the night he was betrayed he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to his friends, and said,”Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

 

After supper,  he took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said,”Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

 

Father, we now celebrate the memorial of your Son. By

means of this holy bread and cup, we show forth the sacrifice of  is death, and proclaim  his resurrection, until he comes agam.

 

Gather us by this Holy Communion into one body in your

Son Jesus Christ. Make  us a living sacrifice of praise.

 

By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.

As your son Christ taught us we are bold to pray:

Our father–

 

The congregation then moved to the Church for the stripping of the altar. The reserved sacrament was then conveyed to Trinity Church for the all-night vigil at the altar of repose.

Palm Sunday

Homily at St. Paul’s-on-the-Hill, Ossining, NY April 13, 2014

Riding a donkeyIt was a great day when Jesus entered Jerusalem. Everyone was swept up in it. You could join in the crowd and just enjoy this famous person, this rock star come to town. It seemed easy, this Kingdom of God stuff. It’s all about being happy and part of the crowd, right?

A week later, there was another crowd, not so happy, but at least as compelling. With another easy answer: crucify him.
It’s not enough just to join a crowd and flow along with feelings of fun or admiration or anger or fear. The prophets of Israel often acted out symbolic actions to convey the message of God. Jesus was such a prophet, and it is clear that his entry into Jerusalem was such an action. He was riding a donkey colt—the messianic king, entering the capital was not on a horse or a chariot, but on the humble conveyance of ordinary people—no one ever heard of a war-donkey or donkey drawn chariots. In humility and peace he entered the city and confronted the powers, the Roman occupying army and the religious establishment that was allied with the Romans to maintain power for themselves. The crowds missed the Sign of the Kingdom of God in looking for a show.

We are moving quickly toward Easter, the Feast of the Resurrection. But the joy of that feast doesn’t come from the spirit of a party—“Hey-Sanna, Ho-Sanna, Sanna, Sanna, Ho”, but in Jesus complete and fearless giving of his life, his entirely loving life, for his people, the poor and the humble. For us.

 

The Way of Wisdom

Mary Robison, blogging for the Keller Library, on the Way of Wisdom

Keller Library News & Blog

“So our goal at seminary is not to produce priests who have pre-made solutions to problems and who are solely focused on fixing things. What we are here to do is to provide wise, resourceful people who know how it feels to struggle to live on the Way of Wisdom and who know how to be companions to others following alongside.” –Rev. Andrew G. Kadel

And just how exactly do we do this at the General Theological Seminary? Our Dean and Faculty went on retreat in January to consider these questions, and then returned to the Northeastern winter to come back and preach at the Feast of Jesus’ Presentation at the Jerusalem Temple (and also Theological Education Sunday, a day* to honor those involved with Christian education).

Faculty members visited parishes all over, from New Mexico to South Carolina to Brooklyn, and the Rev. Andrew Kadel, Director of…

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The Way of Wisdom

The Way of Wisdom

A Challenge to Theology and the Life of the Church

A Declaration by the Faculty of
The General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church

The faculty of The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church met on retreat during the week of January 20-25, 2014 for prayer, reflection and discussion. The consensus that emerged was that the most serious problems in theological education, congregations, the structural organization of the church, especially The Episcopal Church, and the relationship of Christianity to the society at large emerge from a common root. This is the separation of theological reflection from the life of prayer and spiritual transformation, from Christian action and outreach.

“God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
–Micah 6:8
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
–John 17:17-18

Way of Wisdom

I. The Problem: The Decline of Theological Education and the Health of the Church

The stewards of the Church have impaired its health. Our neglect and confusion, evident around the world in various denominations, has led to grave problems of decline in the number of faithful disciples among all mainline churches—not least in The Episcopal Church in the United States. As theological educators, we are acutely aware of the role we have played in this decline.

We have shaped and worked to reproduce a system of theological education that is estranged from the living ministry of the whole Church and its wisdom of spiritual transformation and mission to the world. We have been complacent, serving as a mere facsimile of secular education, validating our vocation in the church’s teaching office only with reference to academic specialization. Having lost our intimate connection to the Church’s ministry and mission, our work within the seminaries also has become fragmented. We find that we can no longer articulate how our disparate disciplines and specialties hang together or offer to our students or supporters a cogent vision of theological education as a vital and essential aspect of the Church.

Theological students do not have an holistic experience of theology. They are discouraged and unsatisfied with the increased separation of learning from formation and ministry. They are unsatisfied with their inability to integrate learning with spiritual practice and the work of ministry. All are looking for alternative solutions. Many believe that our congregations today most need priests with the so-called “practical” skills of liturgical, pastoral, and managerial know-how. Others, with the intent of addressing the diocesan needs of the church economically, have attempted to form spontaneous and self-governing bodies that can equip ordinands locally with basic skills for ministry. Yet, these have not overcome the fragmentation that fuels our decline. They have merely swapped the disciplinary fragmentation of our seminaries with the treacherous triviality of business management theory and the inertia of bureaucratic administration, or they have further divided the church from the resources it needs to carry out its ministry with wisdom and understanding.

These are illusions. They are more destructive to the health of the Church’s ministry and mission than the system we now have. Instead of unifying theological education and the church, they set out to redefine the meaning of ordained ministry entirely in terms of its functions, tasks, and public acts. They abandon any reference to the theology of Church’s ministry and mission. As a result, the fragmentation we now witness in the seminaries is perpetuated in our parishes and dioceses. As Edward Farley wrote prophetically thirty years ago, “The more the external tasks of ministry themselves are focused on as the only telos of theological education, the less the minister becomes qualified to carry them out.”

As a challenge to ourselves, our fellow seminaries of The Episcopal Church and those responsible for theological education in the Church at large, we declare:

Because of the confusion and neglect perpetuated by our disconnection from the Church’s ministry and mission and by our internal fragmentation, the only solution to the decline of the Church is a renewed commitment at all levels to affirm the necessity of theological education to Christian discipleship and for formation in a way of life that desires “the depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33) for all things.

II. The Solution: The Way of Wisdom

Our present system of theological education, the only one any one of us has known, is a novelty in Christian history. For the majority of its life, “theology” was not an academic specialty. It was the path walked by all Christians in their desire to bring the whole of their life into unity with God’s; it meant the participation in the ever-deepening practice of Christian discipleship that we all share. The idea that education in this way of life could be separated from the ministry and mission of the Church or that the study of scripture, theology, salvation history, ethics, pastoral care could be isolated from spiritual practice was inconceivable. The Fathers and Mothers of the Church, whom we call “theologians,” were at once biblical scholars, pastors, and critical thinkers of great spiritual wisdom who drew deeply from sophisticated philosophical reasoning as they guided the course of the Church in their time. Preaching the Gospel was integral to the transformation of the lives of all Christians. Responsible preaching required study and study was also worship.

We are not calling for a return to the past. We are troubled by the present. Where study has been separated from the goal of discipleship, theological education has been sequestered from the whole Church, reserved for those preparing for ordained ministry. The unintentional result has been unchecked clericalism and widespread biblical, liturgical, and theological ignorance in the church.

Though we are troubled, we are hopeful for the future. We are acting creatively now. We call the whole Church at every level, to live in this hope, to focus its energy on integrating the depths of the Way of Jesus Christ into every aspect of its life, and to work with us to imagine ways to revitalize theological education as pursuit of and formation in the depth of the riches of the Wisdom and knowledge of God. We cannot do this work alone.

Many theologians and teachers have recognized the need for this transformation of theological education. We have learned from them and many work beside us now. Up to now, however, their wisdom and efforts for reform have been frustrated by both the academy and the Church, neither of which has been able successfully to reorder the content, structures, and institutions of theological education toward the goal of spiritual transformation. They have instead retained the models and goals of secular corporations and bureaucracies.

The faculty of the General Theological Seminary now commits to reordering the content, structures, and institutions of its ministry to this goal according to what we call “The Way of Wisdom.” All Christian disciples walk in the Way of Wisdom, all encourage one another in the Gospel and share the wisdom found in their own unique life circumstances and gifts. Some become leaders, encouraging and helping others to grow in the depth of the Christian life. Some are commissioned to the special ministries of presiding over the assembly of disciples, overseeing their spiritual health, and instructing them in the knowledge of God. Theological education is vital to these ministries of the Church because it guides and forms leaders in critical reflection on the Gospel, enables these leaders responsibly to care for the community of disciples, and preserves the truth of the Church’s witness to the gospel in our time and place.

The Church can and does fall into error, and yet we have been promised that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Thus, theological education is an awesome and humbling service. As a theological faculty we are called to listen—to listen to that Spirit and to the needs of God’s people. We must not only approach our work with academic expertise, but as theologians, we must be accountable to one another and our students: to teach in ways that enhance development in the practice of the Christian life in the living ministry of the Church for the benefit of the world. The teaching office of the Church is particularly invested in its bishops, and we invite the bishops to join with us in this ministry of listening and mutual accountability.

The Way of Wisdom begins with the practice of attentive listening. It cannot be a narrow set of prescriptions. In a seminary, students are exposed to new and challenging voices. Sometimes those voices are the traditions and history of the church, or the beginning of serious study of the scriptures. Sometimes the voices are from the margins: the poor, the differently-abled, those suffering from discrimination and oppression. Sometimes the real surprise is to discover that the mainstream of scripture and tradition are those on the margins. We commit to teach so as to cultivate practiced spiritual attention in tandem with critical theological reflection and in this way to reshape theological education as integral to our shared life in the Body of Christ. Intellectual problems, disagreements and problems of privilege and oppression will not be wiped away or resolved by directing our work to this goal. They will, however, be illuminated by our common commitment to the Way of Wisdom. In the light of our common goal, we will be drawn closer together rather than further fragmented.

III. A Way Forward

The Gospel amplifies the prophet’s call to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” This summons is addressed to the whole church, all its members. It is of the essence of the Way of Wisdom. It is a ministry for those who are in need, those who suffer, those who seek the wellbeing of their neighbor. It is not a way to serve ourselves or preserve any institution.

The Way of Wisdom is the way of those who love justice and kindness, the Way of those who walk with God together with their fellow Christians.

• We call on all Christians to renew their commitment to the Way of Wisdom and their appreciation of the depths of Christian tradition, especially learning from those who are least among them.
• We call on seminaries and the wider Church to commit to supporting sustainable levels of high-quality theological education for all levels of the church (laity, priests, deacons, and bishops) and for all levels of study, from Catechesis through doctoral study.
• We call for greater cooperation between the seminaries in realizing this goal of theological education for the whole Church.
• We invite the bishops of the church to recommit themselves to their teaching role as listening theologians to work to revive and reform the catechumenate for our time, and for church-wide support of the formation of catechists and other church teachers.
• We call on all members of the Episcopal Church to more deeply appropriate the vision of the Church as a community of all the baptized, as found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.
• We call on all clergy to more deeply appreciate the Wisdom found in the people in their congregations.
• We call on theologians and theological educators to make Wisdom their paramount priority and to seek to integrate all aspects of theological inquiry as a coherent whole.
• We as the faculty of the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church pledge to follow the Way of Wisdom more deeply in our own lives and to change our courses and our curricula to better enable our students to encourage and help others on the Way of Wisdom.

Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

The original draft concluded with the following version of this collect, in which the petition is much clearer:

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who declarest thy glory and showest forth thy handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several callings, from the service of mammon, that we may do the work which thou givest us to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as thy servants, and to the benefit of our fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us as one that serveth, thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1928 Book of Common Prayer, p. 46