Isaiah 5 v20 (NIV)
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
I have a little story to tell you.
The other day, while sheltering on our porch from a thunderstorm, I noticed a wasp also taking shelter in our covered wooden bird box that was hanging in the porch. On closer inspection, I noticed the beginnings of a paper nest inside this box. Hmm, I thought.
After hmm-ing for a moment, I did the obvious thing. I unhooked the box and left it, hole side up, out in the rain under the downpour. Needless to say, the wasps were non-too pleased, but what can you do, eh?
At this point, I have a confession to make. I have a penchant for feeling sorry for things. Anything. Animate or inanimate. The cute fwuffy widdle puppy and, um, that wasps nest I just left out in the rain. I just can’t help it, perhaps one day I’ll get over it. Anyway, never mind and back to the story.
Yup, this story does have a point other than outlining my character flaws for all and sundry. I was on my way to conduct an errand, and a thought occurred to me (I shall have to have that seen to as well). I thought, hey, that nascent wasps nest could be a really neat analogy.
C’mon, you know where I’m going with this…
OK, so here it is. We as a church have had a wasps nest of heresy and apostasy on our porch and, rather than doing the painful but necessary thing (which, by the way is mentioned as both necessary and painful in the Bible – y’know that book that…oh never mind) we have decided to ignore and tolerate it.
So, what happened? Well, funnily enough that wasps nest, over the course of the summer, grew, expanded beyond the confines of the box and suddenly, rather than a tiny little wasps nest we have a great big wasps nest – on our porch, stopping us getting in and out, getting the kids stung and generally making daily life difficult.
We tolerated it, and look what we became? The spectre of Catholic bishops tolerating ‘Catholic’ politicians supporting abortion and other innovations of the zeitgeist.
Simply put, you don’t tolerate wasps, you don’t tolerate sin, because if you do it just grows.
But wait a moment, where do Anglicans fit into all this, you may ask? Well, for the record I am not a good Anglican. If I was a good Anglican I would have taken that wasps nest inside and placed it at the centre of the mantelpiece. I would have watched it grow with pride, congratulating myself on my diversity and tolerance, glad that I had found it in my heart to be so inclusive. I would have been stung, and watched my children being stung and have rejoiced in this new relationship that the spirit was working within us.
Welcome, friends, to our world. Welcome to the Anglican Madhouse.
However, that is not the end. Fortunately we have a God with a track record of rescuing fools from their folly. The house is, I believe, condemned. However, there is a way out still open for those that would go. For you see, God is doing a new thing. He is not content to leave us in the result of our foolishness. Love burns in anger, but cries in mercy. Indeed, He is always more ready to be merciful than we are to receive.
My prayer is that we would perceive that mercy and in obedience walk in the paths He is opening up for us to the new dwelling places. I do not believe those dwelling places will be what we imagine, nor perhaps even what we desire. But it will be what is needed and ordained for us in this season.
The choice is before you, remain and be stung into insensibility or walk into the new paths, paths as yet untrodden. God grant us wisdom, courage, perseverance and faith! Amen!