December 27, 2023

From the Rector…

I have a first generation iPad that is only good for games and kindle. It no longer connects to the internet and if it has to think too hard will shut down. It takes forever to boot up and the charging cable is wrapped with black electrical tape. I have a much nicer and newer iPad that I use for lots of things—I can play the same games and read the kindle app on it as well. 

There is no reason to keep the old iPad. Old technology is relatively worthless and pretty useless. It is only cluttering my house and my brain. Though I know all of this intellectually, I still haven’t the heart to throw it away. 

I was given the iPad by The School of Theology when I entered Sewanee. To me, it represents an investment the seminary was willing to make in this class of future clergy, an investment they were willing to make in me. They didn’t know me other than through test scores and recommendations. Yet they were willing to give me and my classmates the tools of modern technology as they formed us in ancient rites and beliefs. 

I am forever grateful to Sewanee for all that they did to build me up as a priest in God’s church. Seminary is challenging. They spend a year breaking down the beliefs you bring with you so that they might reform them and you, sending you back out into the world having wrestled with questions and doubts, strengthened for the battles ahead. 

Sewanee knows that it is doing more than investing in the education of postulants on a priesthood track, it is investing in the future of The Episcopal Church and ultimately in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Its mission and purpose is to equip those who will go out into the world proclaiming the Good News. They do a pretty good job of that if I do say so myself. 

Sewanee sees itself as part of a bigger whole. It makes decisions based not only on what is best for the seminary but also for the church at large. It understands its place in the greater entity known as The Episcopal Church or TEC for short. And it lives into that relationship through its mission.

That is part of the vitality of being Episcopal. We might worship at CoA but we are connected in deep and meaningful ways with a whole lot of other people who share our beliefs and witness. We practice a common faith with a common prayer book. As Episcopalians, we understand this relational way of being to be the backbone of our faith. So we act in particular ways and make decisions based on what is best for all, even if it means we have to sacrifice our own desires. 

To be Episcopalian is to be connected to the greater body of Christ in particular ways. We are part of a convocation—a geographical region of Episcopal churches. We exist under the authority of a bishop in a diocese. We are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion because our bishop is recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We do our work together—clergy and laity—as we partner with God in building up the kingdom. I think that is why I like being an Episcopalian—it’s not just about me, it’s about so much more that I get to be a part of and the church becomes a part of me. 

I think that is why I keep that first gen iPad. It is a reminder of all that we are and the investment and opportunity afforded me by the greater church.

Light and Life,