NEWS

Identity and Mission in Christ

By Bishop Todd Townshend

The year of our Lord 2020 is going to stay in our memory for a long time.

Beautiful things and terrible things have happened—just like every other year, but this time we are going through a global experience of pandemic. This global experience intrudes and surrounds our lives at every turn. It can be exhausting and debilitating. It is hardest on those who are already vulnerable. It is a serious disruption of life.

Of course, God is to be found right in the midst of it all. Christ Jesus, as Paul wrote, humbled himself, he emptied himself of all privilege and glory to be near us—with us—even in death. Jesus became entirely receptive to God and God’s will for him and for the world.

This will be an underlying theme of our Synod gathering for 2020.

Like most things this year, Synod is happening differently. Instead of meeting all together in one room in the month of May, delegates to Synod will be gathering in a few small “hubs” or by Zoom for a one-day event on September 26.

Guided by the theme “Identity and Mission in Christ”, we will explore together: how we are doing as a church in the midst of the pandemic (an update on our common life), who are and how we remain in Christ no matter what happens around us (our primary identity), and what we have the opportunity to do, in Christ, over the months and years to come (our common mission).

In the midst of suffering, the news is good. God is good, and we have not been abandoned. The Word and Spirit of God are moving strongly in our midst to focus and commit us to Christ’s ongoing, saving mission of reconciliation. In this focus and commitment, we will find joy.

I’m really looking forward to this gathering on September 26. It will be available for viewing by all who are interested.

May your own gatherings this month be done with care and in the mind of Christ.

Peace be with you.

+Todd

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name
that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11