It's Friday morning. We just elected a new Stated Clerk of the PC(USA). Lord have mercy.
J. Herbert Nelson, a teaching elder who hails from Orangeburg, South Carolina, was just elected to serve as the head of our communion. He has served with distinction in the denomination's Washington Office, being present and outspoken at every critical time in the last six years. He's a prophet and he's amazing.
I stand corrected. To people who had wondered about hi s abilities, this morning he said: "I can read. I can learn. And every institution of higher learning I've ever attended has been Presbyterian."
He's going to be fine. And he's absolutely right. I did not come out of the womb knowing how to be a General Presbyter. And I too have been totally shaped and formed by the Presbyterian Church which baptized, educated and nurtured me. We all help raise each other up.
I think my main disappointment is that I knew at least two other people who were being considered for the office, and I was really rooting for them. But I am convinced that J. Herbert is the right person at the right time, and I'll be doing all that I know how to support and encourage him.
It does seem to me there have been a preponderance of prophetic acts and "firsts" this week. We elected two women to moderate this meeting, on the very day that the first woman was ordained in the PCUSA sixty yeears ago. We elected two groups last night, both of which are going to be working on "the way forward" for our denomination. We confirmed the addition of the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions. And - on a personal note - I saw with my own eyes the leadership of my son this week as he led the assembly in an "energizer" and asked a cogent question of the candidates for Stated Clerk. Our YAADS are not the future of the church, they are the church here and now.
This is one of the days that I understand what Zechariah said in the book of Luke:
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people.
We ain't there yet. This ain't the end. But oh my goodness, it's lovely to get a glimpse of the Reign of God, right here in our midst, even in a convention center.