Passing the Baton

Did you see the women in August?   The amazing way they flew around the track in London and set a world record in the 400 meter relay?  Wow, just plain, wow!

If you are familiar with this event, you know the key is in the passing of the baton from one runner to the next.  You can be quick out of the blocks, you can be very fast, you can be a great closer, but if the passing of the baton is fudged - well, you are toast.  But these women executed better than anyone ever has in this event.

This story was the basis for my final sermon at St. Andrew.  I was passing the baton on to the congregation, and we literally passed a gold baton around the congregation during the worship service.  Good news - no one dropped it.

So it was rather ironic, surprising, serendipitous and God-infused that on Friday afternoon, not knowing about my closing sermon at St. Andrew, Bishop Margaret Payne sent me a brief email entitled, "passing the baton." The email popped up on my phone, just as I was about to head into the gym for a much needed workout.  I saw the title, read who it was from, and suddenly I was overcome with a whole variety of emotions:  Excitement, fear and trembling, laughter, tears, responsibility and a sudden pause to formalize the moment in prayer.

Bishop Payne and I have worked hard this summer to insure that the baton pass be as smooth as possible.  I am sure that the laps ahead around the track will have there moments.  No doubt I will fumble this baton which I have been entrusted with, probably more than once.  However, I will endeavor to be the person God is continually shaping in this life and in this role.  I look forward to being a faithful, lively and fully engaged bishop.


I awoke this morning, September 1, 2012, as the new Bishop of the New England Synod.  I made my way downstairs wondering what would be my first act in this new role.  I found a note from Lisa, "The dog has not been fed yet."   Ah, profound words, and a reminder that we live our faith in the real world of dogs, and families, and work, and sports, and play, and struggle, and daily, no hourly, no by each and every passing moment, we are always in the presence of the One who is continually forming us.

Downstairs to the basement I went with dog food can in hand, carrying out my faithful first act as a bishop.