Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some uncomfortable words

This morning at Church on the Hill I was talking to the congregation at the BCP Communion about the true meaning of "comfort" . They were, I think, slightly startled when I told them that it had nothing to do with cosy rugs and favourite slippers - but everything to do with giving strength. I told them about the panel in the Bayeaux Tapestry, which depicts William "comforting his soldiers" by prodding them with a spear...and we thought about how the Holy Spirit can sometimes give us a kick where it hurts, in order to force us into the action required of us. My thoughts then moved on to Christian Aid week, and our need to be as well as to preach good news - and there I left it. It felt OK, really....specially as I was coming back to arrange a display for our QuizAid fundraiser tomorrow night, and to bake some Fair Trade goodies to be shared there. I was, I suspect, a teeny bit complacent...

Unfortunately, of course, the Holy Spirit's kicks aren't restricted to those areas where we are ready to be encouraged into action...that would be too easy by far.
So I came home to read the rather wonderful interview with +Gene Robinson here - - definitely worth a look, whatever your views I think.
You won't, I'm sure, be surprised that the miserable divisions in the Anglican Communion feel rather a second-order issue for me most of the time now, as I do my best to begin to take root in these communities and learn how to serve them - but the reality is that the Lambeth Conference is getting ever closer - and whether or not the Communion will survive that, only God in his mercy can say.

I hate that we are divided like this - that instead of focussing on the love of God huge quantities of energy are being taken up with obsessing over something that seems so far from the centre of the Gospel.
I hate that someone whom I love and admire seems almost disabled by his office.
I have no idea what the road ahead may bring - but as we continue to reflect in these Pentecost days on the work of the Holy Spirit all I can do is to pray that a fresh outpouring upon the whole Church may bring forth fruits of love, joy, peace...
I am Anglican by choice as well as by birth, and I am deeply grateful for the gift of my calling to priesthood - but I cannot hang onto that gift at all costs.
If lines are drawn, there will huge and painful decisions for many of us to make.
I have no idea whether I will have the courage of my convictions - being brave has never been my strongest suit - but I believe that I know where Jesus would stand.
Surely we find him, always, alongside the marginalised, those in pain, those despised and rejected...and where Jesus is must be the best place to be.


Chris said...

Marvellous, Kathryn.

Thank you.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I love your closing words to this post and I took comfort in them, even in the midst of the turmoil.