Monday, July 9, 2012

One Bread, One Body

Our bloggiing strategy, as a deputation, was to set up a rota prior to our arrival in Indianapolis and then to invite any additional posts along the way as people felt called to add a perspective. Today is my day in the rotation and as I look ahead at the calendar for the day, I am free from now until the morning Eucharist at 9:30 a.m, but not back to my room again until tonight until after the Integrity Eucharist, which begins at 8:30 p.m.

So my day will be framed by worship. On my own blog, I reflected yesterday about what this contextl means for me as a first-time deputy. I have heard others talk about this in past Conventions but it really is different to experience it first hand. It is not to deny that the Church is, can be, and probably needs to be "political" at times. It is not to deny that human sin affects our best motivations. It is not to deny that we should attempt to redeem and reform human structures to more fully allow for God's Holy Spirit to work.

But it is to say simply this: we are already one Body in Christ, even when we do not act this way. The most important decisions we make will never be unanimous ones, because we are at different places in our journey in Christ and we traveled to where we now are by different paths. We do see things differently, as the buttons people wear at Convention make very clear.

But it's not only the "big issues" which have yet to work their way to the floor:  issues like restructuring, the relationship between font and table, or whose holy unions might be blessed in our churches. Regularly within our own deputation, on resolutions that will not make the headlines of Episcopal News Service (let alone the "secular" media) we vote differently. Because of our bonds of affection for one another, however, we have not yet come to blows over these differences.

We are one Body in Christ, with many members and many perspectives. When the heat gets turned up we sometimes assume our own purest motivations, and the worst of those who differ from us. I believe, though, that it is precisely in such moments - moments when we seek courage to act boldy, in accordance with the light given to us, that we need to most intentionally examine ourselves. And at the same time, see "the other" through the eyes of God's love. In my experience this does not mean we shy away from conflict or difficult decisions: if anything it gives us the confidence to dive in more deeply. But it does mean that when we do so, we ask God to take away the pride and arrogance that can infect our own hearts, so that what we do may be used to build up the Body, even as we honor all of the members.

For me, gathering daily (or even twice in one day) at the one Table gives us the strength and wisdom to do just that, with God's help.

(Rich Simpson)


  1. For those more interested in "the news" than my theological reflections, this from The Episcopal Cafe:

    Should be a big day at General Convention (#GC77). The resolution that creates a task force to propose ways of reorganizing the church, the resolution to authorize a provisional rite for blessing same sex relationships and the proposed churchwide budget are all expected to clear committee this morning. This afternoon candidates will be nominated to succeed Bonnie Anderson as Presiding of the House of Deputies, after which the house will debate two resolutions on Israel and Palestine. And just because there's not enough going on, the Deputies will also have a chance today to pass anti-discriminate legislation protecting transgender people within the church. Follow us on twitter @episcopalcafe for breaking news.

  2. Thank you Rich...It just reminded me of the theme of the Triennial Meeting, "Many Paths, One Journey."