Thursday, September 22, 2016

From Bishop Andrew Dietsche

On Christ the Solid Rock we Stand

September 20, 2016

My Brothers and Sisters,

I write you from the fall meeting of the House of Bishops in Detroit, where Bishops Shin and Glasspool and I have joined our colleagues from across the Episcopal Church, but we find that these are days when we very much want to be in New York.  The bombings that occurred in New York and New Jersey this weekend have quickened within us from afar our love for the Diocese of New York and its people, and for New York City, our see city. 

In the last two days have come the report of the bombing itself, the assessment of the terror threat, the identification of a suspect, and finally yesterday afternoon his arrest.  Even as we say our prayers for those wounded in the explosion of the bomb, we thank God that there has been no loss of life.  Even as we recoil in the horror that has visited New York we give thanks for the fast, measured, effective response of law enforcement. 

There are voices telling us now that the kinds of local attacks which we have seen in Boston and San Bernardino and Orlando; in London and Paris and Belgium; in Beirut and Istanbul and Ankara; in cities and cultures across the world, and which now have come to New York, are likely to continue a part of our lives into the future.  Since September 11 we have regularly been advised to adapt ourselves to "the new normal." 

Perhaps.  But our serenity and our confidence as Christians are not dependent on the external, changeable circumstances of either peace and security, or danger and fear.  Rather, it comes from the deep conviction within us that in every time and season - in every condition of life, when covered over with every blessing and when assaulted by every adversary - it is on Christ the solid rock we stand.  We live in the certainty and assurance that in an inconstant world it is the love of God and that only which endures and sustains; which gives strength to the fearful, solace to those who mourn, and humility to the victorious.  That indwelling love is the source of our brightest hopes and our profoundest consolation. 

The love to which we are called and invited is that of the Crucified and Risen One, which enfolds friend and adversary, neighbor and stranger; which opens the heart to see the possibilities in everyone, and despises no person.  All this is mystery to the world, but it is the very fabric of the divine reason.  So graced and inspired, and now in the shadow of Sunday's bombing, may God make us brave and strong and faithful to walk peacefully in the way of Jesus when we are on roads straight and smooth and especially on paths hard and rocky, that we may not lose our way, that we may be our best selves, and that we may be the miracle.  With every good wish I remain


The Right Reverend Andrew M.L. Dietsche

Bishop of New York

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