I want to say thanks to all the folks who came out and helped us welcome Bishop Wright to Nashville. As the Square Pegs sang their songs last night, I couldn’t help but get a little misty-eyed. It was as if each of the songs was an offering, a gift given to a guest in welcome; a gift given to one who’s given to many. I was proud of my friends, proud of my community, proud of my church. And after Bishop Wright gave us his address, I was inspired to awe when he responded to the gifts of the community with songs of his own. He sang three songs: “Friday Morning” by Sydney Carter; a rewrite of the Beatles “Yesterday” entitled “Genesis” that he co-wrote with Francis Collins (leader of the Human Genome Project); and a rousing, passionate, show-stopping rendition of Bob Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In.”
The evening’s joyful exchange of music and humor and knowledge was nothing less, in the end, than the Kingdom come, the Kingdom made plainly visible in the present. It was present in the brother next to me, in the sister laughing across the room, in the theologian imagining the universe into order, in the musician creating aural spaces for the Spirit to move, in the brownies and chips offered on the table, in all of it the the presence of a King and a Kingdom was apparent and palpable. It was a blessing, in the most real and literal sense. I’m grateful to have been a part of it, and I’ll venture to guess that Bishop Wright is grateful for it as well. In fact, he told Thomas on the way back to the hotel that he had had “the most fun in a long time.”
And really, what could be better than that?