Skip to comments.Frankie Does Recon
Posted on 09/12/2005 7:08:13 PM PDT by sionnsar
Frank Griswold got back from Armenia not too long ago and his trip got him thinking about things:
As I write these words, I still reflect upon a midsummer visit I made to Armenia and the ancient church of that land, which has borne the marks of suffering and martyrdom across the centuries.
One of the most moving moments during my time there was a visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial, which commemorates the death in 1915 of more than 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. Returning to my hotel following that visit, I learned of the bombings that just occurred in London, and I grieved afresh for this new loss of life.
So Frank decided to take on one of his favorite Episcopal buzz words. I guess we all grieve in our own way.
Peace eludes us. Our making common cause as Gods children has seemed beyond our reach since the beginnings of history. Because we so hunger for peace -- in our hearts, our homes, our church, our nation and on this fragile earth, our island home -- a word very much with us is reconciliation. It finds its way into a number of conversations and reflections. Since reconciliation is at the very heart of the gospel, it is important for us, in a sea of understandings and interpretations, to reclaim its deepest meaning.
And we're off.
First of all, reconciliation is not a human construction; it is Gods action revealed in the person of Christ. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:19-20). It is through the self gift of Jesus upon the cross that all things have been drawn together and all disparities and walls of hostility and division have been torn down.
Since Frank inadvertently included a Bible verse with the phrase "the blood of his cross" in it(some poor secretary at 815's going to get reamed for not catching that one), I guess it was jet lag that made him forget to include the part about how Jesus died on that cross for the sins of the whole world.
An essential component of our baptismal incorporation into Christs eternal priesthood is our willingness to allow the Spirit to make present through us in our own time and place the reality of what God has accomplished in Christ.
It's a short word, Frank. Three letters. Begins with an S and ends with an N. Say it just once.
As well, reconciliation is at the very heart of the ministry of those of us who are called to be bishops. When a new bishop is consecrated, we pray that the new bishops heart may be so filled with the love of God and all the people that he or she may serve before God day and night in the ministry of reconciliation.
At the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter, the deacon sings the ancient proclamation: How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and [humankind] is reconciled to God. As we hear these words, which proclaim the reconciliation of seeming opposites, and recall and reground ourselves within our baptismal identity, we know ourselves to be ministers of reconciliation.
Which we in ECUSA really suck at these days.
For as St. Paul tells us: If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation entrusting the message of reconciliation to us (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Would you like to see the whole quote from 2 Corinthians?
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation(2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Odd that Frank would leave out that part out. Must have been the jet lag again.
The capacity to be an authentic minister of reconciliation is not derived from our natural abilities but flows from the love of God made active within our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Left to our own devices, we might be merely tolerant. We might make a fragile agreement to coexist.
Which is basically what "we" are doing now.
This bears nothing of the depth and costliness of real reconciliation, which involves the cross.
Here I am not thinking of the cross simply as an external symbol that in some way offers us inspiration but rather of our own crucifixion the crucifixion of our judgments and our egos need to win the day.
How about our fervent desire to let the secular world write our theology so they'll say nice things about us? Is that in there somewhere? No?
Reconciliation involves the purification of our desires. What do we truly desire? Do we genuinely wish to encounter Christ in the one who seems so distant from us, so utterly other, and who may even threaten our sense of order and rightness?
Gee. Wonder what that could possibly mean?
True reconciliation has very little to do with whether we agree or disagree. It has everything to do with whether we truly wish to discern the presence of Christ in one another below or beyond our divisions and varying opinions.
This costly and difficult work is our work. It is our most important work on this earth. Mission in its varying aspects has reconciliation at its heart. Instead of bemoaning the lack of reconciliation, we must invite the Spirit to give us the courage and stamina to be who we are called to be in virtue of our baptism: ministers of reconciliation within the body of Christ for the sake of the world.
I'm not sure the world cares much what happens in ECUSA anymore what with it relentlessly bleeding members and money for the last three decades or so. But for anyone new here or for those not fluent in Frankspeak, what the Presiding Bishop is getting at is that orthodox Episcopalians should stay in or return to ECUSA and start scratching pledge checks again with back interest. ECUSA needs the jack.
If the orthodox keep calling homosexual activity a sin, keep saying mean things about Gene Robinson and keep using words like "blasphemy" and "apostasy," we on the left, "instead of bemoaning the lack of reconcilation," must "invite the Spirit" to give the
Nazis Klansmen bigots homophobes conservatives the "courage and stamina" to change their incorrect and evil opinions and completely agree with us since we're right and they're not. Thus ECUSA "reconciliation."
Seems to me that Presiding Bishop Griswold thinks that the verse he quoted means that we are supposed to reconcile ourselves to each other. I take it to mean that we are supposed to reconcile ourselves to the will of God. This involves some transformative work on our part, such as denying the works of Satan and separating ourselves from sin. "Reconciliation" by accepting sin isn't what's being talked about there, I think.
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