The Third Trumpet, Wormwood, and the Bitter Pill

Sunday evening October 30 the communique of the Third Global South Encounter was posted on a variety of sites. It is titled, A Third Trumpet From The South: Trumpet III The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter Red Sea (Egypt) 25-30 October, 2005. It can be read here.

I will comment on the text later today.

It is a document that has important things to say on many levels, but it's title is peculiar and is worthy of note even at this early hour.

The Third Trumpet:

The text that comes to mind is from The Revelation of John 8:10-11: "The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the water, because it was made bitter." (RSV)

Wormwood is the star and it falls, and so the message concerns the bitterness, often understood to be the idolatry of Israel, or the false judgements of Israel, that poisons the waters.

I presume the writers viewed the South to South Encounter as being the trumpet the Angel blew, thus the Third Encounter is the work of God's angel causing the star Wormwood to fall from heaven, etc. It seems an oblique way of talking about ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada, and perhaps even the Church of England as a bitterness in the waters, or as we might say in these days, a bitter pill.

The writers of this communique are blowing trumpets. The question is, who will listen.

More later.


  1. obadiahslope31/10/05 8:47 AM

    I look forward to your comments on this communique. A gentler interpretation of the third trumpet title might be that this is the result of the third "global south" consultation. The trumpet metaphor was used in relation to the other meetings.

  2. Do not get too agitated; "trumpet" is entirely appropriate, as the document is mostly hot air.

    Considering what awful things could have come out of the meeting, but did not, we have little cause to be disappointed.

    Moreover, the covenant idea seems ripe for ECUSA to pick from the tree.

  3. Mark, it takes a poet to see these kinds of connections. I think obadiahslope is correct that the trumpets of revelation never entered the minds of those who titled this pronouncement. It was, however, the first thing that came to my mind. I can see no fruit of this approach other than wormwood and bitterness. It may be the third trumpet, but it is playing the same sad tune.

  4. I have to agree with the link to St. John the Devine. The authors of this statement are people with whom I disagree, but I do honor their intense (if I think misguided) involvement with the BIble. No chance the title is not directly related to the Revelation.


  5. I look forward to reading your further thoughts on the communique.

    One wonders what such publicity will do to the sales of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer on amazon.com.

  6. As obadiahslope notes, the Trumpet has been used for each previous South-South Encounter. I personally think Jeremiah 6:1 is the sneaky reference..., but I tend to see Scripture everywhere in ecclesial documents...

  7. Having read the communique, I don't believe it was written out of bitterness, and I can't believe Wormwood was what they had in mind. Actually, its not primarily about us, and this needs to be acknowledged. It covers a whole host of issues specific to Africa -- poverty, AIDS, violence, relations with Muslims, theological education and nurture, etc. When they speak of us, they assert their need to establish more independence from our institutions by establishing ones of their own. They should be doing this anyway, and I can only see this positively. Yes, they do see us as a corrupting influence, and they do challenge us to abide by the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates' Communique. Nothing new there.

    I think ++Rowan comes off very well here, and in his speech to the Encounter. This communique gives ++Rowan great deference, and reads, in part, as a response to ++Rowan's speech. One should also read the press release, which tells of comments he made after his speech -- to which also the communique refers. The ABC shows himself a man worthy of tremendous respect, and, I think, points to the only way we can go forward together. I believe what he says here is worthy of careful study by all sides.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.