Sunday, October 29, 2017

One person can make a difference

One person can make a difference.
When I write this, the Most Rev. Michael Curry has been Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church for less than two years. Yet while attending the Diocese of Hawai’i’s annual convention a couple of weeks ago I was impressed by Bishop Curry’s pervasive influence on the proceedings. This influence was especially noteworthy because Bishop Curry was not present and will not formally visit this Diocese until 2019.
Evidence of his influence included:
  • A speaker early in the proceedings repeatedly emphasizing that one of his favorite quotations was from Bishop Curry (Forgive like Jesus; love like Jesus; serve like Jesus)
  • A video report from the Diocesan youth attendees at the Episcopal Youth Event that prominently featured Bishop Curry and his dynamic preaching
  • References by several individuals to Bishop Curry’s call for Episcopalians to become Jesus people.
What has enabled Bishop Curry, unlike some of his predecessors, to have such an outsize effect on the Episcopal Church? Among the important elements of the answer to that question are:
  • His consistent focus on a single message, consistently applying and presenting that message in a wide variety of contexts
  • His recognizing and utilizing his significant gifts as a communicator
  • The work of the Holy Spirit, blessing a bishop who has been called for such a time as this.
We live in an era when many individuals seek fifteen minutes – or more – of fame. Much of our contemporary culture worships celebrities, whether they are figures from the world of sports, media, entertainment, political, or business. These individuals are twenty-first century idols. Very often, celebrity personas are as contrived and artificial as were the stone and wooden idols about which we read in the Bible.
Each person has a choice. Each must decide whether to pursue celebrity or making a difference in the world. Very few individuals will make a difference and become a celebrity. And in pursuit of becoming a celebrity, the question arises of what price one is willing to pay to become a celebrity. Being a celebrity – even for just a few minutes – is rarely free or without compromise. Similarly, if one wants to make a difference in the world, the questions are what price one is willing to pay to make a difference and what difference one aims to make. Naming celebrities who have changed the world at considerable harm to others and to the world is relatively easy.
Naming living people who have changed the world for the better without harming others or the world, though perhaps at considerable cost to themselves, is much more difficult. Bishop Curry is arguably one such individual. Are you?

1 comment:

The Rev. Raymond A. Woo said...

Excellent reflection, Rev. Clifford! Very inspiring!
You have made a positive difference for me.
Sincerely yours,
Ray+