Photo by CBrown

It was the closest thing to actually being in the throne room of God.

I’m speaking of the ordination of the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta, and before you dismiss my hyperbole, let me say that I’ve worshipped in many places and have felt the Holy Spirit palpably in worship often. However, never before have I seen the wealth of diversity worship so freely. For example, as you looked upon the row of consecrating bishops, from Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo from Central Tanganyika to first female bishop Barbara Harris, no longer was there a row of grimacing Caucasians. Instead, the diversity of their beaming faces outshone the rainbow of colors in their vestments and mitres.

The music reached a zenith in its width of musical genres, from Caribbean music played during the Peace to strong Episcopal hymnody like “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”. During one contemporary piece, “Days of Elijah”, done in Gospel style, I danced, clapped, and cried beside my fellow clergy who did the same. The 400-member choir and many gifted musicians made me realize that the repertoire of the angels is much broader than I had previously known.

Photo by Bill Monk

As for the ordination proper, the cadre of bishops surrounded Rob and one could feel the length of history reaching through these women and men to ignite the head of the next in succession. As Beth Sarah Wright and her children vested the new bishop, applause resounded as Rob wore the mitre for the first time.

But perhaps nothing was more touching and powerful as when the 9th Bishop, J. Neil Alexander, bequeathed the crozier to the 10th, stamping it on the floor for the last time, signaling throughout King Chapel that resurrection was literally happening, and a new day had begun.