Friday, September 28, 2007

The Beloved

Courtesy of: " What's In Kelvin's Head..."

....Each Eucharist I celebrate teaches me something new...Each time fresh. Each time something that God offers back to us, increasing the knowledge that we have in justice restored, hope revealed, holiness amongst us and resurrection life itself.

Today I celebrated a Eucharist in circumstances which were new to me but which felt old and traditional all the same. A new addition to the range of things that human beings have wanted to mark with the sharing of the bread of heaven and the wine of new life. Today it was in celebration of a Civil Partnership between two people whom I have come to know through my work.

Duncan wrote last week of his sense of holiness in being with a couple as they vow to be with one another for life. I know that feeling well, yet every time it surprises me just a little. The most intimate of moments a couple ever have, but shared with their families and friends and in the awesome presence of the living God. Today was no different.

As I helped the two men through their vows and then served communion to them and their friends in thanksgiving, I knew the Eucharist of old. And I knew the Eucharist afresh. I know Christ at that meal every time. Today it was knowing him holding the beloved disciple in his arms as he shared with his friends on his last night and as he has done at every Eucharist since.

People like me have been waiting for services like the one I celebrated today for so long....Christ the beloved one has been waiting much longer.

Kelvin Holsworth is Provost of St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland.

This is what all the fuss seems to be about in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and indeed, as our world changes, an issue that all Christendom will have to revisit for good or ill! There is no doubt the language and image this post conveys can provoke strong feelings. For some, disgust and utter rejection, for others rage yet for some determination, encouragement and hope.

Even though the Bible seems to be clear in its condemnation of same gender sexual intimacy, to hear people from varying perspectives discuss the Scriptural implications as they apply to modern day Christians,one would think they were reading completely different texts! For some it is a forbidden choice that uniformly leads to hell and damnation...Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!!! What's in that guy's head???? For others it is a given, a natural orientation to be lived out in the context of fidelity and committed love, as all Christian relationships. To spice it all up...its not just about concepts but about persons, some of which we may know and love and whose lives and relatioships stand the most to lose by the tenor and substance of our conversation.

I must admit to not being able reconcile these two seemingly logical and absolutely passionate yet divergent points of view. There is of course Christian tradition to consider as we interpret Scripture, yet, sometimes we have been as blind as the Pharisees were, and like them, just as unable to recognize in the disturbing words and actions of Jesus the good news of God!

Will this one issue be the destruction of TEC and the Anglican Communion or will it be as others an oportunity for growth and discernment? God knows and time will tell...!


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