Saturday, February 24, 2007

I listened to our Presiding Bishop's briefing to the employees of our church's HQ in NYC of the meeting last week in Tanzania. In stark contrast to other reactions I've read this week, her calm, reassuring voice made me much less anxious about the future of the Episcopal Church. For anyone who is concerned, I commend it to you.

Prayer, patience, and persistence will get us beyond this current controversy. Just as we look back now at slavery and realize that we finally, with the help of God, accomplished justice for those enslaved, one day we will look back at the issue of full rights and privileges for our LGBT brothers and sisters and thank God that we stayed the difficult course he set before us.

Southern Baptists and Episcopalians have been in the news this week. The problem with news stories is that they focus on whatever is most sensational. Sex still sells, it still grabs the headlines, and we humans can not resist reading the salacious, tantalizing tales. What we forget is the pain and suffering of the people involved. Clearly, as Christians, we have a long way to go in bringing the dark, seedy side of our selves to the light for redemption. In the meantime, people suffer from our hesitancy and sometimes outright refusal to get honest.

Of course, we'd rather the dirt we sweep under the rug to stay there, the skeletons we've hid in the closet not to come out. But the Holy Spirit comes in with her Clean Sweep team of angels sometimes and says, "This is no way to clean house. Let there be light. Take an inventory. What's all this junk doing here? Get rid of it!"

Our Gospel reading today was John 1:43-51. Of Nathanael, Jesus says, "Here is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit... you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

Isn't it our deceit, our dishonesty, our duplicity that is eating the church from the inside out? What keeps us from seeing those things we'd rather not see? How can we attract others to The Truth when we are being so untruthful with ourselves? What are we hiding behind to avoid seeing the harm we've done?

Spring cleaning ain't easy, but it's necessary and oh so healthy.

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