Dancing on the Stormy Sea
Beloved in Christ,
This past weekend, I joined the Diocese of Iowa for their annual convention. Bishop Betsy Monnot is an extraordinary bishop from whom I've already learned a great deal, so it was a real gift to see the diocese up close.
The theme for their convention was "Dancing on the Water," which they pulled from the story in Matthew 14 of Jesus inviting Peter to walk to him on the water during a storm on the Sea of Galilee. This strikes me as an important theme for the church in this season. There's no question that sailing the ship of the church right now means navigating through stormy waters. The waves of decline, pandemic, reckoning with deeply embedded racism, the sharp cultural and political divisions across which our communities are situated, have been rocking the boat for many years, and no doubt will for many years still to come.
You'll hear more about this from me in our convention in a few weeks, but it's clear to anyone who is paying attention that the boat we have been sailing in will not likely carry us to the horizon God is opening before us, at least not without major renovation and reconstruction. We don't have a choice about whether we get out of the boat and walk on the water or not. The choice is whether we are going to freeze up with fear while the waves consume us, or learn to dance on the water a little, surf the waves together, reaching out in every moment for Jesus, whose hand is always reaching out to us to lead us forward.
It was a gift to be present with our siblings to the south as they wrestled with this choice and took the first few tentative dance steps together on the stormy waters. I see every week how faith communities in every corner of our treasure of a diocese are learning to do this, too. Iowa's convention ended with an actual dance party, and while I may or may not have quietly excused myself from that part, the joy in the room was palpable and contagious. While the challenges in front of us are real, my heart is full each and every day with that same joy as we continue to step out together.
Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya