The investiture of the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus as the eighth bishop of California was marked yesterday with a glorious liturgy at Grace Cathedral. The Lion Dancers from Kei Lun Martial Arts in the opening procession indicated right away that we were celebrating the many faces of Christ manifest in the magnificent diversity of our diocese. Scripture was read in English, Mandarin, and Spanish, as well as performed by the Omega West Dance Company. Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina preached up a storm, holding up St. Mary Magdalene as our model as he cried out, "Keep the faith, California!"
The rite of investiture itself was placed between the renewal of our baptismal covenant with asperges and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Bishop Marc's ministry with us was placed in that space between the font and the table, marked off as a ministry whose purpose is to lead us all into fulfilling our promise to be the Body of Christ for the sake of the healing of the world. As Bishop Marc wrote in the greeting which began the order of service, "It is my hope that we will look back at this moment, this investiture, to see the beginning of a time when we opened ourselves more and more to life in Christ, so that we might serve the world Christ loves." That is my hope too.
Today, +Marc and his wife, Sheila, began their ministry with us by serving breakfast and leading worship at The Sanctuary, a shelter operated by Episcopal Community Services. They then made their first parochial visit to Holy Child & St. Martin's, Daly City, a predominantly Filipino congregation known for its mix of traditional and contemporary music. In the afternoon, Bishop Marc and Sheila crossed the Bay Bridge to join an intergenerational party celebrating the youth of the diocese and honoring all creation: "Sunday in the Parc with Marc." I'm told the Bishop looked great with the new henna tattoo he received courtesy of one of the artists at the event!
Our new bishop is giving a gentle, yet clear, signal of his priorities. Our mission is one with Christ's own mission of reconciliation, embracing the poor, people of every nation, people of all ages, and the whole creation. It is a mission of hope and healing, grounded in a sense of the tenacious, transforming love of God in which all are held.
Bishop Marc's episcopacy has begun with great promise and fills me with hope for our church and for the world. In the words of yesterday's closing hymn:
"My heart will sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn!"