Christmas in September? By No Means!

My brothers and I would explode into action at about 5 a.m. on Christmas morning—much to the chagrin of our mother, who had been playing the organ at the midnight service just a few hours ago. We would sneak downstairs (which, in a 100+ -year-old house is not a silent experience), hoping to catch just a peek around the corner into the darkened living room. The first light of dawn would give us glimpses of reflections from wrapping paper and tinsel. Our father would take a great deal of time brushing his teeth and going into the kitchen to make large quantities of freshly-squeezed orange juice (mostly to play up the waiting). We were not allowed to set one foot downstairs until Dad was good and ready. The four of us sat on the stairs for what seemed like hours, and to be honest, those moments of huddling, waiting, guessing, and barely containing our excitement—those moments of wonder at what might be revealed—well, those are my best memories of Christmases past. (I remember the waiting and the closeness with my brothers far better than any of the gifts we received).

For Episcopalians (and Anglicans) around the world, this is also a time of intense waiting and expectation. The House of Bishops will have crafted their response to the Dar Es Salaam communiquĂ© from the Primates (and its “deadline” of September 30) sometime this afternoon. Bloggers from all ends of the spectrum are waiting to see what will be revealed. Many (especially the more homophobic bloggers) are simply waiting to pass yet another judgment upon the Episcopal Church. It brings to mind a child who rushes into a room full of presents, unwrapping without a care, as he already knows what will be revealed—he has become accustomed to receiving everything he demands from overindulgent parents, and he is simply looking to find some way in which they have wronged him yet again.

Shoot, it brings to mind Veruca Salt:

I want the world
I want the whole world
I want to lock it all up in my pocket
It's my bar of chocolate
Give it to meNow!

I want today
I want tomorrow
I want to wear 'em like braids in my hair
And I don't want to share 'em

I want a party with room fulls of laughter
Ten thousand tons of ice cream
And if I don't get the things I am after
I'm going to scream!

Others have taken a more balanced approach (thank you, Fr. Jake, and forgive me for paraphrasing you):

What will follow September 30?
October 1st.
And not much else.

The fate of the Church, and the quality of our days together that will follow, will depend largely on our response to what is revealed (and not as much on the actual content of the revelation). Can we remain committed to staying in relationship? Can we commit to finding a way forward together? Can we commit to discerning God’s will together? Can we do all these things without excluding the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters? Or will we simply mirror the world around us by splintering off into polarized and isolated factions?

Again: the content of the Bishops’ response will be important—but it will not be nearly as earth-shattering (and earth-CHANGING) as the response of a faithful Church. It is most likely that the Bishops will challenge us to offer acceptance and full inclusion to the GLBT faithful; it is also likely that we will be challenged to work with those with whom we disagree. If we can survive the sensationalism of the media that will report on this meeting; if we can survive the spin of the ultra-polarized “Angry-cans,” then we may truly wonder at what has yet to be revealed (on this issue today, and in the years to come). I think, in the end, that what TEC has to say will sound suspiciously like the Gospels. Imagine that!

Pray for our Bishops. Pray for all in relationship with the Episcopal Church. Most importantly, pray for our gay brothers and sisters, whose life in the church will be most affected by the events in the coming years.

In the days to come, I think we will hear that tomorrow does not belong to us.

We will hear that, contrary to what some may say, there are no bad eggs in God’s Church.

In the end, I think those who are actually listening will hear something wonderful.

1 comment:

Not Your Mother in Heaven said...

Christmases past? You're still like that on Christmas morning!!

This is a thoughtful and wonderful post. Thanks for putting a nicer image than was previously in my head about all that's going on. I hope we all can begin to think less of what "I" want and more of what God wants for the world. What is best for the world, rather than what is best for the individual.