Bishop’s Reflections

Reflections from Bishop Tim Smith

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Bishop’s Reflections2017-01-21T13:41:19-05:00

April 6th, 2020|

“The Flowers”
The rain to the wind said, “You push and I’ll pelt.”
They so smote the garden that the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged, though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.
–Robert Frost

We’ve all experienced those overwhelming spring thundershowers during which we quickly dash inside, only to return to lament the devastation to our lovely yet fragile tulips, daffodils, lilies, etc. Our hearts visit the surface of that grieving well within our souls that holds the accumulation of all the precious ones and things lost to us. So delicate, so helpless, so beautiful. (more…)

March 13th, 2020|

Dear NC Synod members,

As you know, the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind. COVID-19 is officially a worldwide pandemic. Cancelling March Madness and banning all travel from Europe underscore the secular seriousness. To be clear, this is no longer merely a “fear.” It is a reality that is already here and multiplying at light speed.

How do Christian communities respond most faithfully? The governor said no gatherings of more than 100, including worship. My Methodist bishop colleague in Eastern NC requests that congregations not gather, including worship, for at least two weeks. The Virginia Synod, ELCA, strongly suggested the same today. Some of our congregations have already canceled in-person gatherings for the short term. Several synod events scheduled for this weekend, including an ordination, have been postponed. (more…)

March 2nd, 2020|

Talk too much

I talk a lot. No, really. I know that you know that. I just want you to know that I know that, too. In fact, I spend so much time thinking about what I’m going to say to people in this or that sermon or this or that council or call committee meeting or this or that ELCA function or a newsletter or on social media that I sometimes feel like a machine just cranking things out, producing. (more…)

February 3rd, 2020|

Oil and a blessing

Greetings, partners in ministry across the North Carolina Synod! Since Bishop Tim Smith is currently on part one of his sabbatical, I have the opportunity as the acting bishop to share this month’s reflection.

Chrism Mass with Affirmation of Vows. What is it and why are we doing it in the North Carolina Synod? Chrism refers to the oil used for healing, baptism, confirmation, and commendation of the dying. Mass is an old word for worship. The roots of Chrism Mass are in the ancient Roman church when priests would gather on Maundy Thursday to receive the oils that had been blessed to anoint the catechumens before their baptism and on the newly baptized after their baptism. To this was added the oil for the anointing of the sick. This Mass was celebrated on Maundy Thursday so that the oils would be ready for use in the rites of Christian initiation at the Easter Vigil. (more…)

January 6th, 2020|

On turning 60

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. –Anne Lamott

Early in the morning of January 20, 2020 I will begin my seventh decade. While even as recently as 20 years ago that would have seemed ancient to me, I get that by today’s standards—especially in the church—that’s not such a big deal. Maybe what’s eating at me is that for about 10 weeks Sandra Cline and I will both be “in our 60s.” (more…)

December 2nd, 2019|

Word made flesh

Most of us will gather on Christmas Eve to hear the Christmas story from Luke. It’s understandable. Mark really has no birth story. Matthew is mostly genealogy. I can’t ever hear Luke without thinking of Linus in the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Linus, blanket and all, cuts through everyone’s commercial preparations with his moving recitation of the Lukan Christmas narrative, ending with, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” Well, yes and no. That’s Luke’s version. John approaches it in an altogether different way. (more…)

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