Today, the eight members of the mission trip to China depart the cathedral with our prayers and good wishes. As they make their way form Christian church to christian church in China, they will meet a courageous church. They will see that the issues of the churches in China are survival, courage in the face of communism, a history of martyrdom. I wonder what our church would look like if we had problems like clergy abductions, imprisonment and confiscation of buildings and bank accounts. It puts our problems into perspective.
And yet, we are not very far away from a culture which rejects the church in a different way. We do not face torture nor imprisonment nor ridicule. And yet, the pretend days of episcopalian supremacy are long gone and the fantasy days of Anglican aristocracy were, well, just that – a fantasy. Today it’s all hands on deck in the episcopal church.
Evangelism today is no longer poster campaigns or media buys. Today, evangelism is a matter of so embracing courage and being so radically attached to real life and real issues that what we are doing, every moment of the day, is something Jesus would recognize (re-know) as midwifing the Kingdom of God.
In three weeks, eight people will return to the cathedral with a courage and a perspective which will forge every budget choice, every schedule choice and every spoken word into a mission Jesus would recognize. And that is the point of a pilgrimage – to walk with humility, to live in simplicity and to return in zeal for what Jesus would recognize.