Can you find Gene Robinson in this picture? Should you be able to? Should you want to?
He's there, but so are many other people. As Mark Hollingsworth, the 996th bishop of the United States, was consecrated Saturday, surely many thought about Gene Robinson's consecration, an event that was well publicized by the media.
Robinson and the twenty-nine other bishops who were present Saturday laid their hands on Hollingsworth. There were other bishops at Robinson's consecration, and they laid hands on him. The laying of hands goes back through many generations all the way back to the Apostles and to Jesus Christ who first laid his hands on them.
Newspaper headlines and photos, however, tell another story. Their focus is on Robinson, not Hollingsworth.
Robinson is still newsworthy in a secular sense, but he shouldn't be. Robinson was not elected because he was gay, and now that he is bishop, he does the things that bishops do: visits parishes, moves diagonally, and lays his hands on other men and women who have been chosen to be bishops in the church of God.
What struck me about Saturday's ordination was Robinson's ordinariness. I would wager that most of the congregation didn't even know he was there. Like everyone attending, Robinson had a seat at the table "where all are welcomed and acclaimed."
As much as these consecration liturgies are about one man or woman, they are also about the people whom the new bishop serves. As Byron Rushing said in his sermon, "we're all in this together."
Isn't that the big picture?
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