One week from tomorrow the election for the next Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande will be held.
This was in the back of my mind as I listened to the following Epistle Wednesday evening. It is appointed as the second lesson for the feast of Henry Delany & Edward Demby (April 14).
1 Thessalonians 2.1-12It occurred to me that it would be a wonderful thing if the DRG elected a bishop who might be described in the terms of this passage.
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was towards you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
O God, whose incarnate Word, Jesus the Christ, is our Way, our Truth, and our Life: pour forth your gracious Spirit upon the electors of the Diocese of the Rio Grande that their minds and hearts may be attuned to your guiding presence and their wills united in service to the redemption and sanctification of all creation. Of your boundless mercy, grant us a bishop whose courage is grounded in you, who declares Good News, and in whom there is no deceit or impure motives or trickery; who speaks to please you; who does not flatter nor operate from greed. May our bishop be gentle, tenderly caring for your people, sharing his own self with us and holding us dear. Keep our bishop pure, upright, and blameless in conduct toward those who believe and those who do not. May he encourage us all in leading lives worthy of you, O God, and join you in calling us into your reign and your glory. We ask this through your Son Jesus Christ, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.