I've been trying to marshal my thoughts for several days about the state of the Anglican Communion. Mostly as a result of Matt's two latest articles on Stand Firm and the various ACI takes on what's been going on.
Several thoughts have come together for me. The first as a result of rereading Jonah with my Women's Bible Study. Like so many before, we were surprised by two things. First, Jonah's complete lack of compassion for the lost (not just the Ninevites but the ship's sailors) and two, his desire to be with God, worshiping in the Temple, while neglecting the fact that God is with him, where he is, even in the depths of sheol. And really, it is the overall unconcern and lack of compassion for the nations around Israel, as well as the neglect of God at home that brings Israel so much grief and ultimately leads to their loss of the temple and their inability to recognize its replacement in the person of Jesus Christ.
Which led me to consider (in the abstracted and scattered context of my daily life) the tension between the importance of the Temple, after all God did choose to live there and invest it with his presence, and on the omnipresence of God, he can be everywhere and is, and any attempt on our part to limit him will only bring about our own grief.
This general feeling was intensified after doing some supply work in some very small yoked parishes. I generally take these jobs when they come up (even though I never get called unless I'm pregnant) out of a desire to be helpful and wanting to take any opportunity to preach the gospel that arises. But preaching an 'everyone should come to Jesus and be saved, even those who are really nasty and depraved' sermon in these small Episcopal situations is really too little too late. The idea that Jesus is alive and well and loves them enough to die for them and bring them out of death into life, well, it seems the average Episcopalian is completely inoculated against this idea through a lifetime of half truth and 'tolerance'.
This last Sunday I came away from my service profoundly depressed and more firmly convinced than ever that the communion will not hold together. Don't misunderstand me, I wish that it would. I in no way wish or pray for a Communion wide split. But I don't see how it can be avoided. For one thing, I think the continued defiance and arrogance of the American church and Canterbury's refusal to deal theologically, mean that God is going to continue to frustrate our attempts to solve this in a conciliar fashion. I don't really know what God is doing but none of this can make him happy. And as long as we choose place over faithfulness, or own agenda over evangelism, well, it can't possibly look good.
On the other hand, God is provident and faithful and this will turn out the way he wants it to, in spite of our best efforts. In the meantime, I am grieved over my own sins and my continued membership and participation in such an unfaithful situation. I long for God to lead me out into a safer place.