Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breathe deeply, please

According to one respected blogger, our Bishop Love (Diocesan of Albany) may be one of the seven Episcopal bishops visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury this week. I am attaching a shortcut to the comment in which the blogger, Fr. Dan Martin, identifies the bishops he believes are involved (near the end of the comments), but please read his whole post and all of the comments.

I believe that Bishop Love is struggling to find a way to stay in The Episcopal Church while remaining fully engaged with all others in the Anglican Communion - both for himself, and for others like him in this diocese and others who are unhappy with recent decisions in The Episcopal Church. I pray that he will be able to do so. If he cannot, The Episcopal Church will lose him and other faithful Christians, our diocese will be torn as others have been torn, and - most importantly - we will lose a voice we need to hear. I am no fan of Oliver Cromwell, but I have been struck by a line in the message he once sent to the General Assembly of the Kirk in Scotland (this would have been the Presbyterian Church in Scotland; now the established Church there):

"Is it therefore infallibly agreeable to the Word of God, all that you say? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

This is a message that we all, on all sides of our current controversies, must bear to heart, just as we recall Gamaliel's word to the Sanhedrin when dealing with the Apostles:

"If it be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it; lest perhaps ye be found even to fight against God."

So let those of us who are progressive consider that in some part of our position we may be wrong, and that the Bishop's efforts may be of God, not human beings. And let those of us who are conservative consider that in some part of our position we may be wrong, and that (at least some of the) recent changes in our Church may be of God, not human beings.

And finally: let us all remember that the Queen of England may be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, but when she steps into Scotland she becomes a Presbyterian. Let's all breathe deeply, relax, and say a prayer for the unity of the whole Church of God.

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