The Bishop’s Visit: A Channel for Love
by Erin Fanning
“I pray that you will be filled with the reassurance of providence,” Bishop Provisional Prince Singh wrote on his April 13th blog, “a deep assurance of the courage that we have as followers of Jesus, and live into your joy abundantly.”
He brought that message with him during his June 12th, Trinity Sunday, visit to St. Francis’ Church, infusing the service with his joyous presence, along with a dash of humor. He inspired the congregation with a message that perfectly embodied Christ’s example of love, forgiveness, and acceptance.
Speaking of Mother Teresa, Bishop Singh related a story of how the nun reacted when a man spit in her hand when she asked for a donation (see full account below*). Instead of becoming angry or fearful, she put her hand to her heart and said, “That was for me.” Then she put out her other hand and said, “Now, how about something for the poor?”
Bishop Singh emphasized that whether we react in life with anger or love is a conscious choice. As he wrote on his December 16th blog, “God became a human being in the form of a baby entrusted to human hands… that we will take care of each other, especially the vulnerable, the lonely, the elderly, the refugee, the one who doesn’t agree with us politically. Let us trust again and again, wisely, but trust again. And finally, it takes agency for us to actually translate these beautiful concepts of vulnerability and trust… by reaching out and acting out in love, in great vulnerability, and trust so that you may be a channel of love in a real way wherever you are.”
I left church that morning wanting to be a channel for God’s love, feeling Christ’s presence as I walked out into the bright June day. That feeling has stayed with me, making me grateful for St. Francis’ Episcopal Church, as well as Bishop Singh’s powerful ability to eloquently express Christ’s message along with the essence of the Episcopal faith— “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”
* “When Mother Teresa received harsh words, she smiled and extended the love of Christ. Once she walked up to a man on the street holding out her hand and asking, “Give me something for the poor.” The man refused to give anything to this little old nun, but instead he spit in her hand. Instead of reacting with anger or quickly wiping her hand off, she held her hand to her heart and said, “That was for me and my sisters.” Then holding out her other hand, she asked, “Give me something for the poor.” Her acceptance of suffering, her ability to stay at peace in the midst of hatred, opened up this man’s heart, and he gave her some alms, and in fact, we’re told, continued to give for the rest of his life.” (Reprinted from: Church of St. Mary/Church of St. Henry, LeCenter, MN.)