“Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial” (Mk 14:38).
Jesus never went to the General Convention. He never went to anything like it. We know he attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee and that it lasted at least three days, but that looks short compared to the nine legislative days of the Convention.
If we ask ourselves where we might find Jesus at this Convention, we might come up with some conventional responses. We might be more likely to find him out on the streets of Austin, perhaps in a homeless person or an undocumented immigrant. We might be more likely to find Jesus in the waste places of the earth than in the air conditioned halls of the Austin Convention Center. We would certainly be able to find him in the celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar that punctuates the work of the Convention.
But perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to move away from the legislative, political, and governing work of the General Convention, at least when we are looking for Jesus. “The devil may be in the details”, but so is Jesus. He certainly got involved in the particulars of his own situation and context. In fact, the particulars of politics and governance led directly to his death and resurrection.
Jesus never went to the General Convention but he did go to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Those events lasted a week and brought him into direct contact with the governing powers of church and state, and the political process of judgment itself. General Convention is in fact a good lens for Holy Week.
That last week in Jerusalem, people cheered at first but then things got ugly. Exhaustion set in, and the disciples had a hard time keeping awake. King Herod and Pontius Pilate, rulers and governors, presided over events. The Council of the Sanhedrin used rules of order to guarantee the results. Hearings were held before the authorities but the outcome was predetermined.
There are times when we hesitate to plot the pattern of death and resurrection on the events of our lives. God, however, plots that pattern whether we like it or not. For ourselves we pray that we do not fall into the time of trial, and that we are not found asleep when the judgment comes. Jesus never went to the General Convention, but he’s present here, and at every point in our lives.
- Bishop John