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December 9, 2014
To read in English, click here.
DEL OBISPO DIETSCHE:
Después de estas cuatro semanas nuestras iglesias se llenarán para la celebración de Navidad. Las esperanzas y los temores de todos los años se encuentran en ti esta noche. Todos aquellos que constituyen la vida de la iglesia, día a día, domingo a domingo y miles más que andan por su propio camino espiritual se juntan en nuestras casas de oración para ver otra vez el pesebre de Belén y mirar otra vez al niño del misterio y prodigio. ¿A quién buscamos? ¿Qué estamos buscando? Tal vez al fin veremos que estamos dispuestos a ver y aprender lo que esperamos aprender. Pero una cosa de la que podemos estar seguros es que en la Judea rural yace un niño en la más abandonada pobreza, cuyos padres eran extraños en la ruta, quien probablemente nació en la calle, en el suelo, en el frío (para el record de los que leen el evangelio, no hubo establo, ni mano extendida en bondad), y en cualquier caso ¿quién yacería en un lecho de comida para animales? porque en esa noche, entre esas gentes, “no había un lugar para ellos”.
DEL OBISPO SHIN:
December 5, 2014
For Spanish, Click here
AN ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS MESSAGE OF HOPE
FROM BISHOP DIETSCHE:
I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord." It is John the Baptist invoking the prophet Isaiah. Advent is the season of the most desperate expressions of hope in a just and forgiving God, and the season belongs to these two: the great Hebrew prophet and the herald of Messiah. Over these weeks the words of Isaiah and John will be heard in each of our churches, as we contemplate again their plea before God to hear the cry of the broken-hearted and broken-spirited, for restoration, for forbearance, and finally their demand that the God of justice be just. That the author of creation make all things new. When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream.
But always the demand for justice is tied to the language of a true repentance mingled with yearning and need, and of spirits broken and troubled before God. Even through our exhaustion in a world of wrongdoing we hear the conviction that justice is not a zero-sum game -- justice for me or justice for you -- but rather that justice for all is found in the accountability that all people together (and even God himself perhaps) have to truth, and that truth must be forever rediscovered, newly found, freshly discerned. A pearl of great price. A treasure in a field. So it is that in Advent we read in our texts, we sing in our hymns, we recite in our poetry the call to wakefulness, to watching, to waiting in hope. A voice astounds us. It is the shout of rampart guards! Awake, Jerusalem! Arise! Through the long dark nights of winter Advent we are called to attend, to pay attention, that it may be that even now God is doing a new thing.
I wrote the draft of this Advent meditation following the non-indictment of the police officer who killed Michael Brown. I am revising it tonight in the hours following the non-indictment of the police officer who killed Eric Garner. Perhaps only in death could the world see how very much these men, who were believed to be expendable, absolutely mattered. If you Lord were to note what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand? Last week Bishop Shin and I participated in an interfaith post-Ferguson prayer gathering at First Corinthians Baptist Church in Harlem. I was part of an on-stage panel and was asked two specific questions by the host pastor: why is it so hard in America to have the conversation about race; and, how can we help people have an honest conversation about white privilege? I gave answers to those questions, but in truth, I don't know how to start, though I know that we must. I don't know how, because these questions are personal to everyone, and we know that they will be costly, so that we have seen that it is much easier to avoid them and pretend that we are past all that. But as well do I know that we must as Americans begin to talk to one another, for rarely has our failure to face these questions cost us more, and we in the church have a special responsibility for this. Because in this season of grief upon grief, of frustration and anger and guilt, no Advent has ever felt so urgent. No prophetic cry so personal. No justice so elusive. No hearts so broken.
After these four weeks our churches will fill for the Christmas celebration. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. All those who make the day-to-day, Sunday-to-Sunday life of the church, and thousands more who walk their own spiritual road will come together in our houses of worship to peer again into the creche of Bethlehem and look again on the child of mystery and wonder. Whom de we seek? What are we looking for? Perhaps in the end we will see what we are disposed to see and learn what we expect to learn. But of one thing we can be certain. In rural Judea lay a child of forsaken poverty, whose parents were strangers on the road, who was born probably outside, on the ground, in the cold (for the gospeller records no stable, no outstretched hand of kindness), and who in any case will be laid on a bed of animal feed for on that night among those people "there was no place for them."
On Christmas we will celebrate the birth of the expendable one, the unneeded and unwanted boy, the unnoticed and unseen child of want -- the infant Son of Man who even at his beginning had no place to lay his head. May we not miss the point, as we give gifts in his name, as we feast in his honor, that every single human person is a fitting dwelling place for God. That the enfleshing of the Holy One is the sanctification of everybody, that the coming down of Jesus is the raising up of the forgotten poor. For God gazes upon us through the eyes of a different economy, and sees what the world overlooks, and cherishes what the world throws away, and prizes the expendable. Tonight I watch again the tape of Eric Garner's final moments, and see him again and again forced to the ground, and I believe I hear behind the tumult the whispered lamentation of God: my son! my son!
All these things are a mystery to us, a wonder, but somehow we understand that in the birth of the Christmas child -- in that particular outpouring of the love of God, and in God's own tears -- is the answer to the Advent cry for justice. And the New World of our hope.
The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche
Bishop of New York
* * * * * * * * * * * *
FROM BISHOP SHIN:
Advent is the season of waiting in hope. In the aftermath of Ferguson, the notion of hopeful waiting could not be more appropriate and poignant for this Advent. The whole nation is waiting in hope for some new beginning of racial reconciliation in Ferguson and across the nation. Racism has poisoned the social fabric of this country too long. Thomas Merton described hell as a place or a situation "where no one has anything in common with anybody else except the fact that they all hate one another and cannot get away from one another and from themselves." Racism is such an existential hell, and this nation has been stuck in this hell far too long. No one is living outside this hell. This demon thrives in division, hatred and fear of one another. We must recognize this systemic illness which keeps us all in the bondage of injustice.
It is time we work our way out of this systemic bondage. It is time we begin the honest, truthful conversation on this issue. It is time we confront and deal with this systemic illness together as God's people. On Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day, Bishop Dietsche and I participated in an interfaith prayer service at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, organized by the Interfaith Center of New York. Prayers and reflections were offered by the Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders of the community, followed by a conversation on racism in America. It was an honest and tough conversation. But, it was also a healing and reconciling conversation, which brought us together in renewed commitment to justice and truth.
It is easy to talk of the need for reconciliation, the need to be calm and rational, the need for non-violent love and peace and so on. Such rhetoric particularly coming from the political leaders and pundits are frankly unhelpful, cheap and even offensive at the moment, as if racism in this country is an easy issue to solve. Like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I am not one for cheap grace. The racial injustice is so deeply pervasive in the social, political, legal and economic fabric and institutions of this nation that it is hard to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. The hard work ahead begins with an honest, truthful, and difficult conversation, the conversation that can bring about the conversion of hearts and the transformation of the nation. It is time we discover and value the common humanity of everyone whatever one's skin color, whatever one's religion, whatever one's ethnic and cultural background, and whatever one's socio-economic position. We are all created in the image of God, and, thus, every human life is sacred. Every human life is precious in the sight of God.
I, for one, am relieved that grace is God's work and not a human effort. Thus, I can hope, wait in hope, live in hope and preach hope. I may despair in human sinfulness, but I can hope in God's redemptive grace, because God's grace is unstoppable and does not depend upon human power. That is what Advent hope is all about. This hope invites everyone to participate in God's work of redemptive grace in the coming of Christ. But, we can only come to it in vulnerability. We must risk the change grace will bring in our hearts, in our communities and in our nation.
If Christmas means anything, it is that the answer to the human condition is not to be found in the stars, the skies, the material wealth, and the worldly powers, but in a little babe, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. It is in this child we find the answer to our search for hope, peace, joy and love. Here the hope of humanity is continually renewed. God is to be discovered in the vulnerability of a child, who is ready to embrace each and every one of us with open arms of love. So, come home to Jesus this Christmas and be blessed by his love and grace.
The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin
Bishop Suffragan of New York
December 4, 2014
Bishop Dietsche today wrote as follows to the people of the Diocese in response to the grand jury decisions regarding the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.
For the message as sent, please click here.
To read in Spanish, click here.
November 15, 2014
The following is the full text of Bishop Dietsche's address on the morning of Nov 15, 2014, to the 238th Convention of the Diocese, held in Tarrytown, NY, Nov 14 -15.
For a statement by Bishop Dietsche regarding General Theological Seminary, please click here.
For Bishop Shin's Report to convention, click here.
For Bishop Shin's sermon at the convention Eucharist, click here.
November 15, 2014The following is the text of a statement regarding the Ebola Crisis made Nov 15 by Bishop Dietsche to the delegates of the 238th Diocesan Convention, meeting in Tarrytown NY. Read more...
November 15, 2014The following is the text of a statement regarding General Theological Seminary made by Bishop Dietsche on Nov 15 to the delegates to the 238th Diocesan Convention meeting in Tarrytown, NY. Read more...
November 15, 2014At the 238th Diocesan Convention held in Tarrytown Nov 14 and 15, Bishop Dietsche awarded the Bishop's Cross to the Rev. Br. Tobias S. Haller, BSG and to Carla Burns. Please see below for the citations accompanying the awards. Read more...
November 15, 2014The following is the text of the sermon delivered by the Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin, Bishop Suffragan of New York, at the Eucharist held at the 238th Convention of the diocese, Saturday, Nov 15, 2014. Read more...
November 14, 2014
The following is the text of the report delivered by the Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin, Bishop Suffragan of the diocese, at the diocesan convention, Nov 14, 2014.Read more...
October 19, 2014
Bishop Dietsche today sent a letter by email to the people of the Diocese of New York, explaining his position and actions as a member of the board of the General Theological Seminary, regarding the current crisis at that institution. The full text follows.
The email as sent may be viewed here.Read more...
February 6, 2013
For a printable pdf version of this sermon
October 10, 2012
The text of Dr. Ulanov's 2012 Hobart Lecture In Praise of Space is available here.
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