[Episcopal News Service – Hong Kong] A video stream of the presiding bishop’s sermon is available here.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached to a full house on the first Sunday of Lent during a service at St. John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong Feb. 26.
“This season called Lent is an opportunity to work on healing and restoring relationships of all sorts,” said the presiding bishop.
“Lent began as a time of solidarity with those who were preparing for baptism at Easter. It marks the beginning of a special relationship with new members of the body of Christ. When they are baptized, the community promises to stay in relationship. Those ancient Lenten exercises of prayer, study, fasting, and alms-giving are ways of reminding and training ourselves to be better stewards of our relationships with each other and with God.”
The presiding bishop preached and Archbishop Paul Kwong of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, or the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, presided at the 9 a.m. service Feb. 26. The service was one of six held that day, including others in Mandarin and Filipino.
Jefferts Schori is visiting Hong Kong as part of a three-week visit to Anglican Communion provincial churches in Asia, including the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan.
The presiding bishop is joined in Hong Kong by Peter Ng, the Episcopal Church’s global partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific; Alex Baumgarten, the Episcopal Church’s director of government relations; the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop, and Richard Schori, the presiding bishop’s husband.
“All kinds of relationships are meant to be grounded in the kind of love God has for us, and we have a powerful vision in the story of Jesus’ baptism. When he comes up out of the water, the voice from heaven proclaims, ‘you are my beloved, and in you I am well pleased.’ This happens before Jesus has even begun his ministry, before anybody around him has recognized who he is or what he is about, and before he has done a single memorable thing,” the presiding bishop said in her sermon.
“It is an echo of the first creation story in Genesis, when God creates light and waters, sun and moon, plants and planets, the birds of the air, fish of the sea, and animals of the land, and finally the human species. At each stage in creation, God pronounces it good. Human beings are blessed and called very good. A second creation story follows, as Adam and Eve are created in God’s image and begin to exercise their ability to choose, whether for good or ill.”
The full text of the presiding bishop’s sermon is available here.
In addition to preaching at the 9 a.m. service, Jefferts Schori Feb. 26 visited Macau Protestant Church, which is believed to be the first Protestant church in Asia, and a gambling and counseling and family center operated in Macau by the Anglican Church in Hong Kong.
— Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for Episcopal News Service.