The 17th Anglican Consultative Council, held at St. John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong, opened with Eucharist, celebrated by Archbishop Paul Kwong, with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby preaching.
In Anglican News:
In his sermon, Archbishop Justin – citing the biblical readings of the day (Acts 5:27-32, Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8, John 20:19-31) referenced the Resurrection and the courage of Peter and the disciples. He acknowledged the difficulty faced by some of the delegates.
“Many here, like Peter, have had your faith tested under difficult circumstances, some of you under circumstances nearly impossible”, he said. “Thank you for standing firm in your faith. Not only are you standing firm in your faith, you are also sharing your faith like Peter who took advantage of the situation of being challenged to share”
He expressed grief about the persecution of Christians especially those attacked and killed in Colombo and other towns last weekend.
Archbishop Welby’s sermon can be read here; excerpted:
[The resurrection] challenges all our presuppositions and prejudices about the world around us. They show themselves, our prejudices and presuppositions, as so often we humans start by creating our own concept of God. Normally, with the preface “the God I believe in…” and then we go on with our description. Gregory of Nyssa, one of the early Church theologians said this: “Concepts create idols, only wonder comprehends anything. People kill one another over idols, wonder makes us fall to our knees. If you form a concept of God, you make an idol of God. We understand by revelation.”
We are disciples of Jesus Christ, the risen son of God. As such, we are part of God’s Church, not the church we want God to create. That church would fit us much better. It would be much more comfortable, much less challenging, much easier.
The denominations of which we are a part, as Anglicans, and which many of us love, always give us the temptation of themselves becoming idols. The disciples, as we read in the Acts, did indeed fall on their knees. And we hear time and time again of them worshipping. We also, of course, hear of the reality that in worship they faced persecution.
Updates on the council can be followed here.
Photo credit: ACNS