The Daily Office, November 5

November 5, 2006

Daily OfficeYesterday I said it could never be as easy as picking up the Bible and finding the answers.

 Maybe I was wrong.

Today’s Daily Office Epistle is 1 Cor 12:27 – 13:13.

Paul does a much better job than I did yesterday of saying the same thing.  Some things that jump out at me:

Paraphrased:  we are all the body of Christ and all bring to the body our own individual gifts. 

If I have all knowledge and all faith but do not have love, I am nothing.

Love believes all things.

Love never ends.  But as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

So in light of my post yesterday, this was perfect timing, and was certainly an easy reinforcement of my answer.  Of course it wasn’t that easy– if it had been yesterday’s reading then it would have been easy.  I had really already figured it out by today!

The Gospel reading for the Daily Office today is Matthew 18:21-35.

I found this particularly relevant, since we have been discussing the relationship between Biblical authority, Biblical literalism, and tradition, and in my view this is the crux of the problem in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion– in fact in Christianity– today.  Some may say it is Gene Robinson, or same-sex unions, or women in the priesthood, but it all boils down to our relationship to the Scripture.  I might argue that our relationship to Scripture is really a manifestation of our ability or inability to relate to each other, but I’ll save that for another post.

Now I’m going to take a hard stand here, and it may not make everybody happy.  But this is my blog and I guess its my perrogative.  As I’ve said before, part of being in dialogue means sharing opinions– it doesn’t mean having to agree.  That’s part of being relational and another misunderstanding which I think has lead us in the church to where we are (unity does not mean uniformity).  So you don’t have to agree with me.

The Gospel for today talks about how important it is to give and give and forgive and forgive when someone in the church sins against you.  From my perspective, those trying to create a schism in the Episcopal Church have sinned and sinned– they have focused not on relationship but on dissolution of relationship, manipulating and collaborating with those outside our province to try and ensure a position of power for themselves.  Throughout the ordeal, I have not seen anything other than a place of forgiveness and forgiveness from most (not all, but most) of the Episcopal Church.

The same can be said of the Anglican Communion.  Whether those conservative members believe we have sinned against them or see it as I do that we have autonomy to create our own doctrine, the Gospel mandate is clear– to forgive and move on with the business of the church.  The Episcopal Church has made clear that it wishes to remain in relationship, but there seems to be no desire to forgive on the part of those who feel wronged.  If they do want to forgive it is a very conditional forgiveness, not at all modeled on the unconditional grace of our lord.  I suppose the argument on their side is one of repentence, and we have argued over that for some time.  TEC has repented of the relational components of its actions, and it is only accountable to God for its doctrines – not to Nigeria.  But I do not sense any true desire to continue to be in relationship from the orthodox; only a desire to move on without the Episcopal Church and with a more orthodox church in place.

But what I see happening with the conservatives in the church is an inability to move on.  I see the slave who goes out and seizes his fellow slave once he has been freed.

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori has made a bold move of reconciliation with those who oppose her by extending a welcome to them to discuss the Millenium Development Goals.  Let us see how they respond to find out if we can put love as our first priority as Paul asks us, and forgiveness and reconciliation will fall out as Christ teaches.

j

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