Today (Friday), we leave for Canterbury, where the bishops have been gathered in retreat since Wednesday. After all the planning and praying, I still don't know what to expect. What I do know is that praying for the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the bishops, on retreat, has been painful. I still don't fathom why my presence in their midst would be such an affront. It is especially hard being separated from my own brother and sister bishops, who have been so generous and welcoming in our own House, even those who voted "no" on my consent. I miss them terribly.
I have a friend in the midwest, someone I have never met, but who has been a companion on the way since emailing me right after my election. In her wisdom, this morning she forwarded to me one of my own favorite prayers. Though it comes from the section of the Prayer Book for use by someone who is sick, it is a great prayer for anyone, anytime. It seems especially appropriate for right now, as she obviously discerned.
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
With Lambeth Palace seeming so paranoid and suspicious of my presence at the conference, and with my desire to HELP the Archbishop, not undermine him, it seems to offer the best guidance for me right now. Perhaps it is not anything I will say, but rather my quiet presence alone, which will be my witness. Pray, my friends, that I will have patience and that my witness will be gallant. And above all, pray that I take with me the Spirit of Jesus.