Sunday, March 25, 2007

PB & A

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (essentially the Archbishop of America), attended the 11:00 service at my church today -- not to officiate or preach, just to sit in.

Unfortunately, I didn't know about that until the rector mentioned it during confirmation class afterward. Argh! ++Katharine was just elected this past year, and will serve a 9 year term as head of the American province of the Anglican Communion. Most likely it will be during this time that we will see whether the Communion holds or falls apart, so she has an extraordinarily important role to play. Her very tenure is a threat to certain other members of the church, who have difficulty accepting women as priests, let alone as primates. (That's primates as in heads of Anglican provinces, not the biological order containing monkeys, apes and humans, although there are some Christians out there who dispute that, too.)

I am so bummed -- I would really like to meet her! Maybe someday.

Here's a sample of the PB's wisdom from a recent sermon:

Living in community also requires multifocal lenses, and we've had some small experience here in doing that. We've looked beyond ourselves to the Anglican Communion, and internally toward our varied members. We are trying to see with others' perspectives, and sometimes it can be both painful and annoying. We don't see as clearly or easily when we gaze on unfamiliar depths, when we are invited to hold together both Radner and Grieb, both unchanging truth and continuing revelation.

There are some kinds of fish and other aquatic animals that actually have bipartite eyes - they see at the same time both above and below the surface of the water, and their brains figure out how to interpret those quite different images and make a coherent whole. As a body, we are wrestling with a collection of images - perhaps even more like the eye of a social insect, with multiple facets - but most of us assume that the image we form most easily is the only right and true one. The blesser of the gospel, however, sees more than that one, easy image. The blesser of all invites us into that deeper seeing as well - stretch, strain, imagine, and you, too, can begin to see like the Three do, like the One does.

When we have seen that blessing, however briefly, it begins to rise into more easily visible depths, it comes more clearly into focus and into what we call "normal reality." To see as God sees is to begin to make real, whether it is the work of the [Millennium Development Goals], the work going on now in Louisiana and Mississippi, caring for the homecoming soldier, or liberating those in chains. To see as God sees is to bless what is into the reality of the God's reign.

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