I’m increasingly uneasy with our attachment to promise making and promise renewing – renewals of baptism covenant, renewals of ordination vows for clergy in Holy Week, anniversary renewals of wedding vows. The passion narratives in Holy Week and the Easter appearances of the Risen Jesus sharpen my worry. Each of the four Gospels tells catastrophic story of promise making and promise breaking.
Unless TEC reverses the decline, TEC will soon become a remnant numbering in the tens of thousands. When that happens, the media will not care, and few non-Episcopalians will even notice, what the Episcopal Church says or does. TEC will no longer be a vital incarnation of God’s love in Christ.
By Ann Fontaine A year ago I wrote an essay for the Episcopal Café, Come to the Table: A Passover Seder for Parish Use, a project I started well over a decade ago. Key among these was, of course, my growing awareness that many churches were cobbling together seders that were. . .strange. But to …
I understand rage at the church’s injustices, external and internal. As the saying goes, if Jesus were still in his grave, he’d be turning over in it, seeing what we have made of him and his message. The problem is, you can’t do the Jesus thing alone.
As Holy Week nears I see church bulletins and websites publicizing liturgies and events, welcoming others to come and participate. One of the more popular offerings is a Seder. As soon as I see this, I remember a student colleague from divinity school saying, “Why do you Christians steal our sacred rites?
The good that the Archbishop of Canterbury seeks to achieve is the unity of an imagined Anglican Communion that has virtually no existence in reality. In support of that unity he willingly sacrifices the ordination of women, the appointment of women to the episcopate and the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from ordination and the episcopate. For the sake of unity of a communion that does not really exist, he has (perhaps unwittingly) fostered turmoil, dissension, and schism.
But nearly every one of those lost things, besides being beautiful, had been a gift from a person I loved, usually a family member. The thing spoke to me of that person, of our relationship, and of the place from which it came, a place with significance in my family history.
Whatever trouble we face, however beaten down we are by the world or our fellow human beings, Jesus has been there before us. In the words of the great spiritual: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows but Jesus.” If we but call on him, he will come and show us the way.
A longtime member of the congregation, active for years in many causes for justice began to speak and to weep. “Where is God?” she asked. “Where is God in the lives of children whose bodies are distorted by hunger? It is easy to feel that God is here when I am holding my well fed grandchildren in my arms. But there…” She found it hard to continue.
Sometime in the 1980s a shift happened within churches and in ecumenical gatherings, both formal and informal. The focus of women’s language about church participation, both at the grass roots and among professional theologians, shifted from a “Please, sir, may I have some more” approach to a different angle: “We are church and have always been church.”