"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two Things To Note (moved)

I recall when the diocese, not so much as a full year ago, was exploring its options. The option presented by those who are against realignment was that we would all stay in the Episcopal Church and "build a firewall" around our parishes and diocese to shield it from the goings on at 815. Of course, the reason that argument didn't fly then was that we had been doing that for quite some time and it wasn't a long term solution. But more and more, post realignment, I am saddened to see that the very people who then encouraged a "firewall" are consulting with 815, praising the words and actions of those who would have destroyed firewalls, and conspiring with the ones who would readily sue those of us who have loved these folks and still do.

My second observation comes on a more cheerful note, though. We had our first post-realignment clergy gathering today and it all felt so very unfettered! Thanks be to God for laughter, friendship, future, and encouragement. We also got a brief and welcomed visit from Bishop Iker, who it was my delight to meet for the first time. Please pray for their convention in November as the diocese of Fort Worth considers similar measures to what Pittsburgh has adopted.

Of course the link between these to observations is the link of fellowship. Who do you support wholly? Who is on your team? Who is part of the body? And how do you celebrate and uphold those people. Sometimes who we love comes dangerously close to defining us. How we carry out that love, quite often rightly reveals what is at our core.

I am reading some remarkable stuff in Simon Chan's book Liturgical Theology about the nature of the church as the body of Christ and the nature of the Eucharist. In short, Chan quotes the addage "you are what you eat." This of course made me chuckle, but his point is well taken; we are the body of Christ because the sacrament of the Eucharist is a means of grace by which we are transformed into active participants in the Incarnational ministry of the Church, of Christ himself. I was reflecting on the garden of Eden, when he snake tells Eve that "you will be like God" and he's right. Eve was already like God, of course, made in God's image. That won't change, though the image comes to be deeply marred, after the fall, so on that level the snake does not lie, he only neglects to point out where she is like God already. And yet, through Christ's sacrifice we are again restored to that which Eve lost, and we are made like God, incarnational, knowing good (despite knowing evil also) and able to take part in all that is good and holy and eternal. Man was not made for evil and sin, sickness and death, but in Christ we are redeemed from that and once again made like God, able to commune with God and take part in his plan of divine grace in the world. That's pretty amazing stuff.

I guess this is where the anti-communions of so many modern hip re-imaging liturgies is most spiritually dangerous. For if you are what you eat, if a sacrament transforms us in real and tangible ways, then a false sacrament, a mockery, a self-serving liturgy must also transform us. Hmm... food for thought. (dreadful pun inteneded)

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