Our presiding bishop preached in Brisbane, Australia on July 4th. While she was at it our Katharine showed her oceanographer's teeth, too. Here's some of what she had to say:
Our communities are still pretty well divided up between the haves and the have nots, the white and those of darker hue, the straight and those who aren't. Yet we're all meant to cross over those boundaries that keep some enslaved to others' definitions. We are all invited to bathe in the river of freedom, to be washed clean of the shame of thinking that some are different enough to be pushed out of the community, away from the feast God has set from the beginning of creation.Read the all of the ENS report on Katharine Jeffert Schori's visit to Christ Church, Brisbane and of the sermon here.
That's at least partly what Jesus is telling his followers when he sends them out. Travel light – don't bother with all that other baggage. Let go of all the impedimenta that want to tie you down to pre-conceptions, cultural taboos and expectations. Go and proclaim peace. Eat with anybody who offers to share a meal, offer healing to anyone who's hurting, and tell them that God is near. And if you aren't accepted, don't fuss, just move on and try the next person. Healing and reconciling need our active labor and participation. Disciples are supposed to build bridges wherever possible.
Who or what needs healing around here? Who's still enslaved, who needs cleansing, release, and restoration to community? Immigrants? Aboriginal peoples? Those with AIDS or the mentally ill? Who isn't welcome at our tables – atheists? People who come from the other end of the theological spectrum?
There is at least one sort of division that your context and mine share – between the inside and the outside of the church. There are growing numbers of people who think that Christians are bigots, hypocrites, and uninterested in those who differ from them. The only real way to cross over that boundary is to leave these communities of safety and go on out there to find those who think we're unclean. We're going to have to wade into the river, even if, like the Brisbane, it does have a few bull sharks in it. There are far more dangerous creatures walking around on both banks. It's past time to go swimming.