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?
Category: Daily Episcopalian
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.”
One of the greatest challenges to us as church is to go against the culture’s use of time as a commodity, its business model of program evaluation, and its focus on production and consumption. God loves us. God saves us and makes us whole. God rests on the seventh day. If we decide to embody this as church, what will the shape of our time look like? How will we operate differently from the culture around us?
One Good Friday in the 1980s or early 1990s, Krister preached the entire Seven Last Words of Jesus service at Harvard’s Memorial Church. After the service, one of us asked him whether he might be willing to part with a copy of his text. “I had no notes,” he said simply. So we carry his wisdom in our memories and into our own times in pulpit and classroom.