It is, once again, a moment (as are all moments) in which we find God’s Grace abundantly present, if only we will look. The Feast of the Incarnation is the primary icon of attentiveness. Here we attend to small and large events, tenderness among a small group of persons and attention to angles voices. Tonight I attended to small things, close friends, good food, grateful hearts. It was enough.
This blog concerns a future for Anglicanism. So often what I post reflects an attention to various details of this or that action within the Communion and what they might mean for our future. It is very easy to become attentive to the details of our failures to be in communion. It is easy to be filled with despair for life together.
So on this Christmas eve, I want to write for a moment about God’s Grace present in our mostly common life as Anglicans.
All over the world tonight we Anglicans, along with many others, will sing songs about the wonder of the Incarnation, songs that will show how it is that Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s very being, (to quote Hebrews). It turns out that nothing matters as much as our attention to this reality, a reality only know in our willingness to accept Jesus into our presence (our hearts as the evangelicals would say). So we do.
Anglicans may not be uniformly good about rigorously separating the wheat from the chaff, feeling that such a task is best left until the end and a better judge, but we are very good at attending to the presence of Jesus. We are an incarnational family, knowing that the death on the cross comes to One who also is born of a woman. We are incarnational, knowing that God comes to us now, and every now, in form we can hold and touch, taste and see, and finally is not hidden from us. We believe breaking bread together is as good as it gets.
With all the difficulties of this past year for we Anglicans, perhaps it is in order to say that at the core all is well: Jesus Christ is present with us, we are cared for by One who is the exact imprint of God’s very being, the one present will be our judge, and even there the love of Jesus intervenes for us.
The matter of church “ness” will get straightened out, or not. There will be one Anglican Communion or none and it will always matter less than that God’s love is know to us in Jesus Christ.
I am not worried in the least: my soul, my self, my eternal present, is buried in Christ’s death and raised with His resurrection. The incarnation is the fact known by all believers that Jesus is present and his love is the exact love of God for us. It is true for me, true for you, true for my enemies and your friends, and vice versa.
At Christmas it is enough to know this. We will argue again later about who has this business of church right, but in the brokenness of Christendom I am more and more of a mind to say that none of us has it right and that that is not so very important.
We will argue again about whether or not gay and lesbian persons are wholesome examples for the faithful, but I am of a mind to say that for the faithful examples are not needed, rather companions are needed. And to that end let me say I have never been refused bread by a gay person (although surely some will do so) nor has a gay person crossed the street to avoid me (although that could change). And if they will walk with me and share bread with me, shall I not as well do so with them? And if the two of us walk, will Jesus not also come among us and break bread with us?
Maybe this year to come we can set our eyes and hearts higher: if we focus on the One in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, perhaps we will dwell together in peace as well.
Blessings on us all.