There have been four times in the past five General Conventions when I have found myself crying.
I’m not talking about the regular tears of frustration over the snail’s pace of legislation or problems with my computer or even my tears of exhaustion.
No, four times I’ve cried pure tears of joy and exultation.
Once when the Church entered into communion with the Lutherans.
Once when the Church consented to Gene Robinson’s election.
Once when Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected presiding bishop.
And once – today – when the House of Deputies stunningly voted unanimously to create a Task Force to restructure the Church.
C095 is such a far-reaching piece of legislation that, if it works, the Episcopal Church will be forever changed, hopefully in ways that we cannot even yet imagine.
I joined in the gasps that burst forth when deputies realized there were no “no” votes. Could it be that we really – really – just voted overwhelmingly to dream wildly, to take leaps of faith, to let the Holy Spirit not just guide us but drag us down an unknown road to a whole new place that we don’t know and can’t yet see?
I love General Convention. I love the ins and outs of committee hearings, and building legislation, of being part of the Episcopal Church’s triennial family reunions. I love the fact that we talk about big ideas and tiny ones — that we engage the world and gaze at our navels, all at the same time.
But rarely does what we do at General Convention make my heart soar, my spine tingle, the hair stand up on the back of my neck, and my eyes fill with tears.
Because rarely do we as a Church make such a leap of faith as we did on Wednesday.
But that’s what Deputies did Wednesday afternoon. They leapt off the cliff in the sure and certain knowledge that the angels would catch them before the stones bruised their feet, because that’s what God has promised.
We are, as the song we sang says, singing a new church into being.
Which brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.
–By Lauren R. Stanley