OK, that's a quote from the funeral liturgy, so it's kind of ripped out of context. I have not died. But, metaphorically, there has been a kind of death, and simultaneously a rebirth to new life. It began with definitive suddenness when I received a phone call from the President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Springfield yesterday afternoon informing me that their electing synod had chosen me to become the 11th bishop of their diocese. But this death-leading-to-rebirth will take some months to fully play out; the canonical processes must be satisfied, and they take time.
Some hours after the event, someone told me the bells of St Paul's Cathedral in Springfield were rung, announcing my election. It was at that moment that I nearly broke down and wept. I am quite certain I have never felt so humbled in my life.
So begins a time of transition--a rather long one, actually. I will probably end up being a bishop-elect for as long as I was a deacon in 1989. But there will be an immense amount to do on both ends of the transition, so I'm not particularly worried that time will drag. At my age, time never really drags much, anyway.
One of the questions that I had to answer during the "walkabout" events in the diocese three weeks ago was, "If you have a blog, will you continue it after you are a bishop?" I answered then that I'm not entirely sure, but I hope so. I realize that being a bishop is a rather different kind of job (that is, not merely different as a matter of degree) than being a parish priest. It comes with its own peculiar constraints, constraints that I am at this time only conceptually familiar with. So that may have an effect on the character of my blogging. I don't know. It's something we'll just have to live into.