In the past few weeks, I have found a wonderful church where I feel welcome, only to find out that the Reverend is leaving at the end of this month. I’ll continue to attend this church as it transitions, but I must tell you that a major reason for attending was this wonderful Rector. Case in point was today.
In this, her next to last (fancier people would say “penultimate”) sermon, she spoke of reconciliation. Because you see, the senior Anglicans from around the world are meeting right now in England, but a number of them are in a tizzy because in 2003 the Episcopal church got all crazy and ordained an openly gay bishop.
And the world ended. And they’re upset. In fact, many senior Anglicans are boycotting the meeting. Some even want to split off from the church.
And in 2003, which was before I started attending this church, my Rector stood before her congregation and said “The Episcopal Church did the right thing.” And a third of the congregation left for good. She’s been slowly rebuilding the congregation ever since, and I guess it’s often been a struggle. But as she’s moving on, she left us this morning with this parable:
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while he slept, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. When the weeds appeared, the laborers asked the farmer “Do you want us to go and gather the weeds?” but the farmer says no, for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest.”
Okay, so what you say. Unless that is, you happened to read the post on Friday over at FranIAm’s place, which included this paragraph:
But the scripture is there and won’t go away. In the face of all that, Jesus tells us a parable: “Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?” the laborers in the story ask the farmer about the bad seed “an enemy had sown.” The answer, at a time of great change and deep reflection, ought perhaps to give us great pause: “No,” the scripture answers, “because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them.” We pulled up a lot of wheat with the excommunication of Martin Luther and the reformers, for instance, and have been trying to repair those exclusions ever since. Surely this is no time to start doing the same kind of thing again. Surely we have learned better by this time. Surely we don’t want to do it to one nun whose only crime is a question and in whom the people see a minister of uncommon quality. Maybe we ought to “leave some chaff and grain to grow up together” for a while longer until we can see clearly which is which.
I often read Fran’s blog, though I rarely comment. It’s the kind of blog that makes me want to go think about what I want to say, and by that time, I’ve gotten distracted by something else. But the point is, she’s made me think long and hard about issues of spirituality.
Yeah, she’s good.
So anyway, I’m trying to let go of one of the few “truly” Christian people I’ve met in an awfully long time, and I’m trying to understand why other “Christians” feel threatened by a gay bishop in their church.
And, I’m trying to understand the parable of the weeds and the wheat in my life. So there’s some food for thought on a Sunday night!