A Rising Tide of Joy
Beloved in Christ,
I've been doing a lot of internal grumbling lately. Some of that is about the larger and more painful challenges that are always part of life and ministry, but a lot of it is simply about the small and petty parts of my own heart.
On Sunday, I visited Good Shepherd in Windom. As I made the drive, my body and spirit softened and relaxed like they always do when I drive across southwestern Minnesota. The gradually flattening farmlands, sparsely wooded prairies, and small towns, with their single gas stations and towering grain elevators, all look like the places where I grew up. It's the landscape where I will always feel most at home.
Sitting in the comfortable, safe, and reliable car the diocese owns and I drive, I found myself thinking about two bishops I encountered at Lambeth this summer. One is currently sleeping on the floor of a local Roman Catholic Church, in a town hours away from where his family lives. Another must rent space on the back of someone else’s moped to travel hundreds of miles to visit the congregations in his care. They endure truly painful hardships because of their singular love for Jesus and their passion for inviting more people to follow his way of love. Their faith and commitment are contagious. God is a real, immediate, and constant companion in the midst of every hardship, and I found myself wanting more of what they have.
My challenges, and I imagine most of yours, are nothing compared to their daily struggles, which most of us cannot imagine. I hope and pray that we might always be asking how we can connect more deeply to and stand in closer solidarity with those whose struggles are unimaginable to us, both in our own neighborhoods and on the other side of the world. And even more, I hope and pray that I, and all of us together, might nurture such a singular love and devotion for Jesus, and continue to know and tell the stories of God’s visceral and immediate companionship in our lives, that all our big and small grumblings might be caught up in the rising tide of joy that God, and God alone, can give, swelling in our hearts.
Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya