There may be a bit of an uptick on Anglican focused posts this year. The news from the Church of England bishops last week comes as no surprise. Last November I said the writing was on the wall, and here we are. For me, having lived through events in Canada it is a bit like rereading a book. Same sex blessings was then avant-garde, now it is presented as a compromise between theological positions. Much is now being written, talking about synod votes, legal challenges and suchlike.
Honestly, the die is now cast. Whatever precise direction the path takes, the end point will be the same. Rather than talking about that, I’d like to present a different perspective.
Firstly, be at peace. There will be a lot of inflamed emotions and things said that, in more sober moments, will be regretted. This is nothing that God does not already know about, and indeed will be just part of His intent. Ichabod is still the judgment, but in the midst, God is building up His Church, His body, ready for the times to come.
Secondly, hear the heart of God. It is full of sorrow, for a bride turning her back, taking a pinch of incense and worshipping at the altar of the world’s idols. We cannot move forward until we have plumbed that heart of sorrow for those who have turned away to run after other gods.
Lastly, and so very importantly for this next chapter, please hear this. We are not the right-thinking righteous ones. Oh, I know we kind of know that. But it will be so easy, so insidiously easy, during the period of separation to slip into the role of the Pharisee, thanking God we are not like those other men.
No, we are not the righteous ones. Rather we are the miserable failures. We are the ones who let this happen. We are the ones who abandoned our flocks to the wolves. We are the ones who were silent when the world blared lies, because we were afraid, because we wanted to be liked, or at least ignored. This happened on our watch, and we are all culpable. Woe to us, for we did not preach the whole gospel!
This is the unvarnished truth, and may be hard for some to hear. But the thing is, unless we acknowledge the truth we will remain hard of hearing as far as God is concerned. And we really, really need to hear from Him in this season.
We need to repent. There, I’ve said it. A word we maybe don’t hear too much these days. We need to throw ourselves on the mercy of God, miserable wretches that we are. Because He is merciful, and gracious. And while we were still studiously ignoring the elephant in the room, he has made a way. I mean, He IS the Way. How could it be other?
In all humility and contriteness of spirit, knowing we have royally messed up, let us follow our merciful Lord. He knows we are flesh, just a passing breeze. He knows we are small, fickle and easily cowed. And He is sufficient. Hear this. He. Is. Sufficient. For this time, which is merely the harbinger or foreshock of the times to come. He is sufficient, and His grace is outrageously abundant!
As an Anglican layperson, I have to remind myself not to be censorious of those whose whole livelihood depended on a church job, and compromised.
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Yes, very good point