3/10/2005

The Beach and its Hints



This is a picture of the beach at Lewes. The waves come in regularly every 5 to 7 seconds. Over the last several centuries the beach here has built up as sands come in from the larger wave action on the Ocean side of Cape Henlopen. The Cape, just a few yards from here grows out more and more into the bay.


The environmental changes here over the past five hundred years have been slow, almost as slow as the liturgical changes in the services of the Church of England, now the Episcopal Church. During this time we have moved from the divine right of kings and the subjugation of women to a democratic society (in which there has been very little consistent participation) and the movement towards equal rights for women, a matter in which the Church has been shamelessly behind the wave.

From the standpoint of the waves and the movement of prayer in place, particularly as regards justice, neither give a damn about the miserable mess we find ourselves in vis-à-vis the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Here, nothing matters but the wave action and the slow dance of life and death and the living in between.


We Anglicans are mostly grounded in our worship, which worship depends not on the purity of the participants but the desire to give thanks and praise to God mindful of our sins and grace both.


The wave action works its will, as does the passage of time. The action of prayer changes the shore line on which we gather. Women who could not speak in church now preach and administer the sacraments. The sons and daughters of former slaves make witness of God's grace. Gay folk come into the church and come out. We gather together at the edge of the great sea of unknowing having only the wave action as a hint. The Spirit blows where it wills and we don't know where it comes from and where it is going.


Perhaps it is enough at the moment to look at the waves and marvel.


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