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Mice in the Palace - Sin in the Heart; An Ash Wednesday Reflection from Bishop Mark Lawrence
Bishop Lawrence's Address to the 222nd Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina
The following address was given by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, XIV Bishop of South Carolina at the 222nd Annual Convention of the Diocese held at the Francis Marion Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, March 9, 2013. It has been edited slightly for readability. Download a printable version.
Bishop’s Address – 222nd Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and wither it goest: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 (Jesus speaking to Nicodemus.)
A young rabbi once asked an older rabbi, “What do you have to do to make God smile?” The wise elder replied, “Just tell Him the plans you have made!” Indeed. Who could have envisioned all that has transpired in the Diocese of South Carolina since our Annual Convention on March 10, 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul? Frankly, since last summer’s General Convention of The Episcopal Church there has hardly been a week in which the landscape has not changed in significant and dramatic ways. This week was no exception. On Thursday afternoon I was served a summons to appear in Federal Court as the defendant in a civil suit brought against me by the Rt. Reverend Charles von Rosenberg. You are most likely aware The Episcopal Church has agreed to the state court’s injunction not to use the name of our diocese. Yet now in a self-contradictory move, Bishop von Rosenberg, the Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina has used our name, the name of our diocese in bringing a lawsuit against me. I will leave it to our legal counsel to respond to these matters further. It is, however, an opportunity for us to remember that this legal road will take us down many twisting turns. There will be many ups and downs before it is concluded and at times it may test our resolve. We need to remain steadfast in our faith, firm in our conviction and resolute of will as God gives us strength. None of it however should dissuade us from our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ to live in confidence of the good news of his death and resurrection, to continuously put our fingers in the nail prints in his palms; our hands in his side – Do not doubt but believe – to remember his glorious ascension to the right hand of God the Father exalted over all principalities and powers that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father – remembering his promise to come again in Glory at the close of the age. None of it should detract us from being obedient to Christ’s Great Commission – to Go and make disciples. So undeterred we press on.
Bishop Lawrence Addresses the 221st Diocesan Convention
Listen to the audio version of this address. Download a printable copy. (Note the charts referred to in the talk are included in this version. In the version below they are available by link only.)
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
Then were we like those who dream. Psalm 126:1
I preached recently at Voorhees College for their Annual Absalom Jones Eucharist. Bishop Andrew Waldo of the Upper Diocese of South Carolina was the celebrant. It was the first occasion in memory that both bishops of South Carolina were present and participating in a worship in St. Philip’s Chapel. I believe it was a positive show of support for this historically black college. As the preacher I wanted to offer a word of hope to these students preparing for life in a world of challenges. While writing the sermon I was stirred by words of the psalmist assigned for this feast day; his remembering the power of a dream—or perhaps more accurately stated, the freedom to dream. Here in the 126th Psalm a faithful petitioner in Israel, after returning from exile to the Promised Land, now finds that he and the people of God are again experiencing misfortune perhaps through drought, threatened crops, or even enemy encroachment. But regardless of the cause, he turns to God in prayer and at once remembers a past deliverance. Memory for him leads not to nostalgia for the past but hope for the future. By remembering the dreams of God he holds on to hope, if only by one thin thread of thanks! And he trusts that God is faithful.
Bishop Lawrence's Address to the Clergy, April 14, 2011
Bishop Lawrence's Address to the 220th Diocesan Convention
Bishop Lawrence's Address the 219th Diocesan Convention
Bishop Lawrence's Address to the 218th Convention